When Nick Cave gets himself a film credit, it’s usually as a composer (see: War Machine, Hell or High Water, Wind River. On occasion, he’ll double up and cameo in a film he’s scored, like he did for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. His latest credit, however, is all screen time, as Cave is playing legendary science-fiction writer H.G. Wells in Benedict Cumberbatch’s new movie The Electrical Life of Louis Wain.
Cave’s role is likely a small one, but you do get a glimpse of the gravitas he brings to Wells in the film’s first trailer. “A whole cat world,” he says into a 1800s radio mic.
What’s this cat world he’s describing? That of illustrator Louis Wain, an artist who became famous for his anthropomorphic representations of cats. Wells was famously a fan of Wain’s work, even making appeals for his release from a psychiatric facility when he was diagnosed (controversially) with schizophrenia.
A cat drawer may seem like a slightly odd topic for a movie, but Wain actually did live quite a fascinating and electrical life, and his illustrations were truly extraordinary in their time. Cumberbatch stars as the artist himself, alongside co-stars Claire Foy, Toby Jones, Andrea Riseborough, Sharon Rooney, Taika Waititi, and Richard Ayoade.
Get a look at Nick Cave as H.G. Wells by watching the trailer for The Electrical Life of Louis Wain below. The movie opens in theaters on October 22nd before heading to Amazon Prime Video streaming on November 5th.
This is just the latest project in a busy few months for Cave. He’s also releasing a new memoir, Faith, Hope and Carnage, about the years following his son’s death; teaming with Warren Ellis to score the Marilyn Monroe movie Blonde; and releasing B-Sides & Rarities Part II with the Bad Seeds.