Steve McQueen's 'Widows' to Open 2018 London Film Festival

The Viola Davis-starring crime thriller will have its international premiere at the 62nd edition of the annual event.

This year's BFI London Film Festival is set to kick off with one of the year's most hotly anticipated and star-studded features, from one of the U.K.'s most celebrated directors. 

Widows, starring Oscar winner Viola Davis and from fellow Academy honoree Steve McQueen, has been unveiled as the opening-night film, lifting the curtain on the 62nd edition of the event in London's Leicester Square on Oct. 10.

Based on a U.K. TV series, the film was co-written by McQueen and acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl). The crime thriller has a cast that also includes Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Robert Duvall and Liam Neeson, and tells the story of a group of women who band together to repay the debt left by the dead husbands' criminal activities. 

"I am absolutely delighted that Widows will be opening this year's BFI London Film Festival," said McQueen, whose previous films Hunger, Shame and 12 Years a Slave have all screened at previous London Film Festivals. "Watching the U.K. TV version of Lynda La Plante's original thriller as a teenager in the '80s had a major impact on me and so it feels very special to be sharing this film with a U.K. audience."

Added London Film Festival artist director Tricia Tuttle: "“We treasure the work of BFI Fellow and festival alumni Steve McQueen, so it’s an utter pleasure to open our festival with the international premiere of Widows. Adapted from a ground-breaking U.K. television classic into a feature to savor on the biggest cinema screens, this is scintillatingly rich storytelling from a magnificent filmmaker, probing issues around race, class and gender, while always delivering immense style and crackingly sharp thrills."

Tuttle, who also heads up the LGBT-focused BFI Flare festival, was last year announced as interim artistic director 2018 after previous director Clare Stewart revealed she would be taking a yearlong sabbatical. 

Widows, which will likely have its world premiere in Toronto, comes from Twentieth Century Fox, Regency Enterprises and See-Saw Films in association with Film4, and is set for release in the U.K. on Nov. 9 and in the U.S. on Nov. 16.