Judi Dench in Red Joan
Judi Dench in Red Joan

Judi Dench will be honored with the Golden Icon Award at this year’s Zurich Film Festival and present her latest film, RED JOAN, a drama inspired by the life of Melita Norwood, in which she plays a woman whose tranquil life is suddenly disrupted when she’s arrested by MI5 and accused of providing intelligence to Communist Russia. Dench will present the film alongside co-star Sophie Cookson, who plays Young Joan.

The Golden Icon Award is the Festival’s most prestigious symbol of recognition, given in appreciation of the lifetime achievements of an actor or actress

RED JOAN is directed by legendary director Trevor Nunn (original London production of ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Twelth Night or What You Will’). Judi Dench (SKYFALL, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) co-stars alongside Sophie Cookson (GYPSY, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE) and both are joined in the film by Stephen Campbell Moore (THE CHILD IN TIME, GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN), Tom Hughes (VICTORIA, LONDON TOWN), Ben Miles (THE CROWN, WOMAN IN GOLD) and Tereza Srbova (EASTERN PROMISES, INKHEART).

The year is 2000 and Joan Stanley is living in contented retirement in suburbia at the turn of the millennium. Her tranquil life is suddenly disrupted when she’s arrested by MI5 and accused of providing intelligence to Communist Russia.

Cut to 1938 where Joan is a Cambridge physics student who falls for young communist Leo Galich and through him, begins to see the world in a new light.

Working at a top-secret nuclear research facility during WWII, Joan comes to the realization that the world is on the brink of mutually assured destruction. Confronted with an impossible question – what price would you pay for peace? – Joan must choose between betraying her country and loved ones or saving them.

Since playing Ophelia in HAMLET at The Old Vic Theatre almost 60 years ago, Judi Dench has garnered wide popular and critical admiration for a career marked by outstanding performances in both classical and contemporary roles. She has won numerous major awards – including an Academy Award, ten BAFTA Awards and a record eight Laurence Olivier Awards – for work on both stage and screen, and in recognition of her many achievements she received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1970, became a DBE (Dame of the British Empire) in 1988, and in 2005 was awarded a Companion of Honor. She has also received the Japan Arts Association’s prestigious Praemium Imperiale Laureate Award for Film and Theatre.

Judi Dench recently wrapped on Disney’s ARTEMIS FOWL, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Last year she appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, for Twentieth Century Fox and starred in VICTORIA & ABDUL, directed by Stephen Frears for Working Title and Focus Features. This latter performance was nominated for a Golden Globe, SAG and AACTA International Award. This is the second time in her career she has played Queen Victoria. For her first such performance, directed by John Madden in MRS BROWN, she won BAFTA and Golden Globe awards and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Judi Dench received an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award, both for Best Supporting Actress, for another magisterial performance as Queen Elizabeth I in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, and she has received Academy Award nominations for performances in a further five films: Lasse Hallstrom’s CHOCOLAT, for which she was also nominated for a Golden Globe; IRIS, directed by Richard Eyre, for which she also won a BAFTA Award; MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS, directed by Stephen Frears, for which she was further nominated at the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes; NOTES ON A SCANDAL, again directed by Richard Eyre, which also brought her BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations; and PHILOMENA, directed by Stephen Frears and co-starring Steve Coogan, for which she also received BAFTA, Golden Globe and SAG award nominations.

Judi Dench is recognised globally for her legendary role as M in seven JAMES BOND films, from GOLDENEYE to SKYFALL.


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