george miller is a genius. Most viewers might recognize him as the director of Mad Max: Fury Road, the insanely spectacular 2015 mega blockbuster that grossed $375 million at the box office and garnered ten Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture. It’s easy to forget that Miller also gave us films as tender and heartfelt as Baby: Pig in the city and happy feet, showing how versatile he is as a filmmaker and storyteller. Miller continues to amaze audiences with the fantasy film Three thousand years of nostalgiawhich looks just as subversive and wildly entertaining as we’d expect from the madmax brain.
The movie is based on AS Byattthe short story of 1994 The Djinn in the eye of the nightingale. The story of Three thousand years of nostalgia follows researcher Alithea Binnie, who, at the start of the film, is very content with her life. That is until Binnie meets a Djinn (a genie) who offers her three wishes in exchange for her freedom. What happens next is a very long and expansive conversation between Binnie and the Djinn in a hotel room in Istanbul, leading to incredibly out-of-this-world stories and consequences that will forever change the trajectories of their lives. Miller described three thousand years as “the opposite” of Mad Max: Fury Roador the “anti-madmax“ repeat his words verbatim. On paper, it’s easy to guess how different the film is, with its singular focus on two characters talking in a hotel room for much of the film’s narrative. According to the trailers, however, three thousand years suggests a visually lush world with crazy production design and extraordinary characters.
Three thousand years of nostalgia will be released exclusively in theaters on August 26, 2022. Keep reading below for a cast and character guide to what is sure to be a wild new adventure from the eclectic and visionary genius that is George Miller.
Idris Elba play the Djinn. In the film, the Djinn seeks to grant Binnie three wishes in exchange for her freedom. As the story progresses, the Djinn and Binnie begin to share a romantic kinship, which deepens their relationship as well as the complexity of the Djinn’s desire to be freed. The more the Djinn opens up to Binnie during a night out in Istanbul, revealing details about his complicated past involving empowerment and entrapment, the more complex his dynamic with Binnie becomes. The Djinn feels like he has had misfortune after misfortune in his life, a series of unlucky events that led him down this unhappy path. In this case, the Djinn has met his match with Binnie, who questions the very logic of his decisions with every thread he unravels for her.
Elba has appeared in films such as american mobster, Prometheusand Pacific Rim. He also played the villain Krall in Star Trek Beyond. He is best known to superhero fans for playing Heimdall in the Thor and avengers movies as well as to play Bloodsport in DCEU property The Suicide Squad.
Alithea Binnie’s character is played by Tilda Swinton. Binnie is a narratologist, a person who studies narrative and narrative structure in stories and literature. Binnie is quite content with life, the exact opposite of someone who would want three wishes at all. As a narratologist, Binnie is also an expert in deciphering and predicting narrative structure. When Binnie collects a bottle gem from the town bazaar and the Djinn materializes to grant her three wishes, Binnie is understandably very aware of the structure of such stories. Calling them “cautionary tales”, Binnie doesn’t need said wishes and doesn’t need the Djinn. This launches the Djinn into stories about his past, hoping to convince Binnie otherwise. With each story the Djinn tells Binnie and the more she discovers about him, the more she begins to believe there is more to this particular genius than she originally anticipated. Alyla Brown plays young Alithea Binnie in the film.
Swinton has quite the filmography, with appearances in films such as vanilla sky, Adaptation, We need to talk about Kevinand Only lovers will stay alive. Similar to Elba, MCU fans might recognize Swinton as the Former of strange doctor and Avengers: Endgame. In 2021, Swinton appeared in Wes Anderson’s anthology film The French Dispatch.
Aamito Lagum as Queen of Sheba
Aamito Lagum plays the Queen of Sheba, a character first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. In the original text of the story, the queen brings a caravan of precious gifts to King Solomon. According to Miller, there is no historical record of the Queen of Sheba. In her words, “she is in mythology more than she is in history”. This allowed Miller and co-author Augusta Gore to create their own fantasy interpretation of the Queen, who has a direct relationship to the Djinn and her past in the film. The Queen is featured in the many fantastical flashbacks of stories the Djinn tells Binnie during their evening in Istanbul.
Lagum is best known for being the first winner of Africa’s next top model. Lagum has also appeared in marketing for companies such as Hugo Boss, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Matteo Bocelli as Prince Mustafa
Prince Mustafa is played by Matteo Bocelli. Prince Mustafa is a recurring “cast member” of the Djinn stories that Alithea visualizes in her mind. Similar to the Queen of Sheba, the Djinn has a relationship with Prince Mustafa which has very personal ties to his past. The prince is known in the particular Djinn retelling of his story for riding a white horse with a pink mane, which becomes a visual signifier of the prince in the film. This particular pattern is actually not fantasy but rooted in history. The horses of 19th century Turkey often had their manes dyed pink, yet another layer of history where Miller mixes history with mythological fiction. Bocelli is a renowned Italian composer and the son of Italian operatic tenor Andrea Bocelli. Three thousand years of nostalgia is Bocelli’s first film credit as an actor.
Kaan Guldur as Murad IV
Kaan Guldur plays Murad IV, who was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for decades. As an adult, Murad was known for his brutality and bossy nature. He was ruthless to those he fought and ruthlessly cold to those who served under him. In Three thousand years of nostalgia, he is portrayed as a child who has not yet become the Sultan of the history books. Guldur has made guest appearances in Thor: Love and Thunder, Aquamanand the TV series Preacher.
The decision to explore Murad as a child is another distinct way in which Miller mixes historical fact with fiction, delving into a side of Murad that is often not represented in stories, films, or literature. The careful but deliberate mix between facts and unique narrative creation is what makes Three thousand years of nostalgia such an intriguing premise for a fantasy film.