Fox Searchlight has set a US release date and revealed new images from Belle, a British period drama starring newcomer Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson.


The film, directed by Amma Asante, will be released in select US theatres on May 2, 2014.

Produced by Damian Jones (The Iron Lady), the cast also includes Sarah Gadon, Penelope Wilton, Miranda Richardson, Tom Felton and Matthew Goode.

Belle is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Wilkinson) and his wife (Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing.

Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.

Misan Sagay is the credited writer on the project (both story and screenplay).

Fox Searchlight secured most worldwide rights, including North America and the UK, earlier this month.

The film was developed by the BFI Film Fund, which also backed production, alongside Isle of Man Film, Pinewood Pictures, Head Gear Films and Metrol Technology.