'Summerland' trailer: Gemma Arterton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw star in romantic WW2 drama

Tom Butler
·Senior Editor
·2-min read
Gemma Arterton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in a still from <i>Summerland</i> (Lionsgate)
Gemma Arterton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in a still from Summerland (Lionsgate)

As UK cinemas gradually begin to reopen their doors, a steady trickle of new films are preparing to welcome filmgoers back to the multiplexes. One of the films coming to cinemas on 31 July, when Cineworld and Vue are both planning to reopen screens, is Summerland, the new film from award-winning playwright and filmmaker Jessica Swale.

The film, set during World War II, tells the story of Alice, an independent folklore investigator (Gemma Arterton) whose life is turned upside down when she has to take in an evacuee.

Alongside Arterton it stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Courtenay, Penelope Wilton and newcomer Lucas Bond, and today Lionsgate has shared the first trailer.

Watch it below.

Arterton previously worked with Swale, who wrote and directed Summerland, on the play Nell Gwynn. The production, about the mistress of King Charles II, premiered at Shakespeare's Globe in 2015 with Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the title role. Arterton then took over the role when it transferred to London’s West End where it won Best New Comedy at the 2016 Laurence OIivier Awards.

Read more: Arterton rewrites Bond Girl role for Me Too era

Swale is currently working on a film adaptation of Nell Gwynn.

Summerland was shot on location in East Sussex in the towns of Seaford, Brighton and Kent in 2018, and the handsome local countryside is used to its full effect in the charming first trailer.

The UK poster for <i>Summerland</i> (Lionsgate)
The UK poster for Summerland (Lionsgate)

Here’s the synopsis: “Summerland follows the story of fiercely independent folklore investigator, Alice (Gemma Arterton) who secludes herself in her clifftop study, debunking myths using science to disprove the existence of other-worldly forces and magic. Consumed by her work, but also profoundly lonely, she is haunted by a love affair from her past.

“When spirited young Frank, an evacuee from the London Blitz, is dumped into her irritable care, his innocence and wonder unlock deeply buried and painful secrets in Alice’s past, and make her re-evaluate what it really means to free your imagination. Bravely embracing life’s miraculous unpredictability, Alice learns that wounds may be healed, hope and second chances do exist, and any woman must defiantly be two things: who and what she wants.

Lucas Bond and Tom Courtenay in a still from <i>Summerland</i> (Lionsgate)
Lucas Bond and Tom Courtenay in a still from Summerland (Lionsgate)

“From Britain’s strongest new voice, the Olivier Award winning breakthrough writer/director Jessica Swale, Summerland inspires our audience with daringly honest and contemporary themes – an intensely emotional journey of womanhood and self-discovery, love and friendship.”

Summerland arrives in UK cinemas on 31 July.