Benedict Cumberbatch film biopic about Westgate artist Louis Wain in cinemas now

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (still from film trailer)

By Dan Thompson

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in a new biopic about Westgate artist Louis Wain which includes scenes shot in Thanet during 2019.

The eccentric artist lived with his family in Adrian Square and Collingwood Terrace between 1894 and 1917. He was best known for his paintings of cats, which started as fairly realistic portraits but became increasingly psychedelic in his later years, when in 1924 he was certified insane and placed in a series of mental hospitals.

In recent years his works, once dismissed as Victorian and Edwardian kitsch, have become increasingly collectable, with Margate’s own Tracey Emin reported to be a keen collector.

Filming scenes in Botany Bay Photo Frank Leppard

The new film looks set to increase interest in the artist and his connections to the Isle. It tells the story of Wain and his wife Emily, played by Claire Foy, who has also appeared in The Crown, and The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

Andrea Riseborough, whose credits include Happy-Go-Lucky, Never Let Me Go, and Brighton Rock, and Toby Jones from Detectorists also star. Musician Nick Cave – a keen Wain collector – appears as HG Wells, and Olivia Colman, currently due to start filming with Sam Mendes in Margate, narrates.

As well as starring in the film, Cumberbatch has a producer credit.

Photographer Frank Leppard captured it on camera when filming for the movie took place in Botany Bay.

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Cumberbatch said “I am thrilled by the prospect of playing the courageous, playful spirit that is Louis Wain and to be producing such a special film. We plan to bring audiences a sincerely uplifting, playful, thought provoking tale of resilience, creativity and the enduring power of love”

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is at cinemas now, and can be seen at Vue Thanet. It will be screened at The Palace in Broadstairs from Friday 14 January to Thursday 20 January

Palace Cinema details at:

Vue details at:


    • It is really a very lovely movie with wonderful chemistry between the costars. It does work a bit too hard at being ‘artful’ at times, but the colors and cinematography are beautiful.

    • Peter , I can assure you that the scenes that I saw filmed at Walmer were beautiful and captured the period brilliantly
      I was amazed at the trouble that the film company went to by painting houses used in the film at Walmer in pastel colours and after filming they had to repaint them back to the houses owners original colours .

    • I saw this film last week at the Palace cinema ,Broadstairs and can recommend this bitter sweet true story about the naive innocent soul and talented artist Louis Wain .,played by Benedict Cumberbatch .
      Some critics are saying it’s his best ever performance and having now seen this film , I wouldn’t disagree with that .
      Mr Wain famously for a period of time was a resident of Westgate on sea , which was referred to and depicted in this movie but the scenes relating to Westgate for this film were filmed at Walmer ,Deal .,but that didn’t distract or spoil the enjoyment of this film
      There are other scenes of local interest in this film shot on the beach at Kingsgate and also on the cliff top pathway leading from Kingsgate to Foreness point .where Louis Wain and his family are depicted being driven in a lovely old vintage car
      That apart , I think this is an excellent film that deserves to win some awards .as it’s very well made , has excellent makeup on Benedict Cumberbatch as he gets older playing Louis Wain , also the soundtrack is sympathetic and fits in very well with this film .
      Already I think this is going to be one of my favourite films of 2022

      I will say having now seen this film that I think Westgate on sea council “are missing a trick “ by not publicising more Louis Wain’s connection to Westgate on sea .

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  1. I agree that it would have been brilliant if this film had been premiered at The Carlton but I don’t think they’re planning on even showing it there which is strange if Westgate is depicted in this movie but on the plus side the Palace cinema in Broadstairs will be showing it in mid January I believe .

    Due to Covid and like a lot of films , it’s taken a long time for this film to hit the screens .
    I remember fondly back in the summer of 2019 watching in person Benedict Cumberbatch , Andrea Risenorough and Claire Foy making this movie at Kingsgate and plus a lot of it I saw being filmed at.Walmer ,seafront near Deal but to the best of my knowledge nothing was filmed at Westgate .
    It was very exciting and interesting to watch a Hollywood film with a household name like Benedict Cumberbatch being made in front of me and to see Benedict transform from his normal clothes into the character he acted Louis Wain
    I for one have been looking forward very much to see this film and how the bits that I saw filmed look in the final edit on the big screen ..

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