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: