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HomeTv & ShowWicked Little Letters FIRST LOOK: Olivia Colman gets into character

Wicked Little Letters FIRST LOOK: Olivia Colman gets into character


Wicked Little Letters FIRST LOOK: Olivia Colman gets into character as shamed spinster Edith Swan in new film based on the bizarre case that stunned a sleepy Sussex town in 1920s Britain

A remote Sussex town was given a period makeover on Monday as Olivia Colman prepared to shoot her latest scenes on the set of forthcoming film Wicked Little Letters. 

The Oscar-winning actress takes a starring role as Edith Swan in director Thea Sharrock’s latest project, based on the real-life story of neighbours who come together after receiving a series of hateful poison pen letters from an unknown source. 

Joining cast members in peaceful Arundel – which doubles for Littlehampton, where the bizarre incident occurred almost a century ago – Olivia, 48, was dressed in character as filming got underway. 

New role: A remote Sussex town was given a period makeover on Monday as Olivia Colman prepared to shoot her latest scenes on the set of forthcoming film Wicked Little Letters

New role: A remote Sussex town was given a period makeover on Monday as Olivia Colman prepared to shoot her latest scenes on the set of forthcoming film Wicked Little Letters

Clutching a battered step ladder and wearing an apron over her blouse and skirt, unassuming Olivia looked alarmed while gossiping with a small group of neighbours, all dressed in similar outfits. 

It appeared to be her latest scene in the Sussex town after principal photography began in the area a week ago. 

Colman will star alongside Jessie Buckley in the forthcoming film, with the Irish actress expected to play Rose Gooding – the fiery younger woman wrongly accused of drafting a spate of hateful letters to fellow villagers. 

Those familiar with the notorious case will know that Swan, a respected member of the community, was eventually exposed as the poison pen author, charged with criminal libel and ultimately tried at Lewes magistrates court in 2021. 

Leading lady: The Oscar-winning actress takes a starring role as Edith Swan in director Thea Sharrock's latest project

Leading lady: The Oscar-winning actress takes a starring role as Edith Swan in director Thea Sharrock’s latest project

Here we go: Joining cast members in Arundel - which doubles for Littlehampton, where the incident occurred almost a century ago - Olivia was dressed in character as filming continued

Here we go: Joining cast members in Arundel – which doubles for Littlehampton, where the incident occurred almost a century ago – Olivia was dressed in character as filming continued

The new film is understood to be a lighthearted take on the case, with neighbours joining forces to solve the mystery after the finger of blame is incorrectly pointed at the Gooding. 

On two occasions she would be sent to prison for crimes of which she was totally innocent, and the case would involve four trials in all — each reported unsparingly by the national press and enthralling the nation. 

Swan was eventually deemed to be responsible for drafting the obscene letters, but the judge who presided over her case simply refused to accept the evidence, convinced that Eshe was the kind of Englishwoman incapable of swearing, and found her innocent of the crimes. 

In the years since there has been speculation that she was suffering from some kind of mental illness. 

Plenty to talk about: Clutching a battered step ladder and wearing an apron over her blouse and skirt, unassuming Olivia gossiped with a small group of neighbours,

Plenty to talk about: Clutching a battered step ladder and wearing an apron over her blouse and skirt, unassuming Olivia gossiped with a small group of neighbours,

Hard at work: It appeared to be her latest scene in the Sussex town after principal photography began in the area a week ago

Hard at work: It appeared to be her latest scene in the Sussex town after principal photography began in the area a week ago

Centre stage: Further scenes saw Coleman's character posting an ominous letter at a local post box in the town of Arundel

Centre stage: Further scenes saw Coleman's character posting an ominous letter at a local post box in the town of Arundel

Centre stage: Further scenes saw Coleman’s character posting an ominous letter at a local post box in the town of Arundel

Face to face: Colman was joined by co-star Jessie Buckley, who plays Rose Gooding - the fiery younger woman wrongly accused of drafting a spate of hateful letters to neighbours

Face to face: Colman was joined by co-star Jessie Buckley, who plays Rose Gooding – the fiery younger woman wrongly accused of drafting a spate of hateful letters to neighbours 

Coming soon: Wicked Little Letters is expected to go on general release in 2023

Coming soon: Wicked Little Letters is expected to go on general release in 2023

As many as 80 crew members are thought to be working on location in West Sussex, with Blueprint Pictures – the production company responsible for developing the film – having made a donation to the local council after roads were forced to close while they filmed scenes. 

Timothy Spall, Hugh Skinner and Joanna Scanlan have also been case in unconfirmed roles. 

Wicked Little Letters is expected to go on general release in 2023.  

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