New Trailer Offers First Look at Bel Canto

Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe star in the adaptation of Ann Patchett's novel based on the Lima hostage crisis.


Ann Patchett fans, get ready—the author’s 2004 blockbuster novel, Bel Canto, is making its way to theaters. Recently, Screen Media Films released the first trailer of the upcoming adaptation, which stars Julianne Moore, Christopher Lambert, and Ken Watanabe. As with its source material, the movie centers around a loose, fictionalized interpretation of the Lima hostage crisis and explores themes of love, trauma, politics, and the power of music.

Patchett's story takes readers to the home of a South American vice president, where Katsumi Hosokawa—a powerful businessman with a passion for opera—is the honored guest of an extravagant dinner. Opera singer Roxane Coss is also there, and her private performance is meant to exploit Katsumi’s soft spot and inspire a generous investment.

Things go awry when terrorists violently interrupt the party, hoping to kidnap the president. Of course, their desired target isn't in attendance, and the intruders are forced to restrategize: Instead, they’ll ransom off the most powerful guests. This includes Katsumi, Roxane, and several others, all of whom become pawns in a year-long hostage crisis. But amidst the danger and dogged negotiations for their release, the victims form new alliances—and romantic relationships—with each other and their enemies.

  • camera-icon
  • Ann Patchett published her most recent book, Commonwealth, in 2016.

    Photo Credit: Alchetron

The brand new trailer is relatively faithful to Patchett’s original storyline, showing the growing relationship between Katsumi (played by Ken Watanabe) and Roxane (played by Julianne Moore and featuring the voice of Renée Fleming), and the fraught interactions between the captors and captives, terrorists and government officials. Hope seems to rest in Roxane's hands, or her “bel canto”—“beautiful singing.” 

Unsurprisingly, this isn’t Bel Canto's first adaptation. After numerous attempts at bringing it to the screen or stage, composter Jimmy Lopez wrote an opera of the same name in 2015. The movie, now slated for a premiere on September 14, 2018, will be yet another wonderful—if not long-awaited—version of Patchett's beloved novel.

Read Bel Canto before it hits the big screen!