Robert Pattinson and Johnny Depp Get Their Imperialism On In The ‘Waiting For The Barbarians’ Trailer

While anticipation is high for Robert Pattinson‘s performance in both Tenet and The Batman, the actor quietly slipped a turn in an upcoming period piece under the radar.

In the new trailer for Waiting for the Barbarians, Pattinson plays a young officer who serves Johnny Depp‘s villainous Colonel Joll as he metes out torture and abuse to local barbarians while Mark Rylance’s unnamed magistrate struggles to protect them. The film is based on the 1980 award-winning novel of the same name by South African author J. M. Coetzee, which has often been cited for its brutal criticism of imperialism. Judging by the trailer, the film will not be kind to colonialism by way of military force.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The Magistrate of an isolated frontier settlement on the border of an unnamed empire looks forward to an easy retirement until the arrival of Colonel Joll, whose task it is to report on the activities of the ‘barbarians’ and on the security situation on the border. Joll conducts a series of ruthless interrogations, which leads the Magistrate to question his loyalty to the empire.

The pairing of Pattinson and Depp will no doubt pique the interest of comic book fans who have been campaigning for Depp to play the Joker in Matt Reeves’ The Batman trilogy. Noted nerd master Kevin Smith has been especially vocal about fan-casting the Pirates of the Caribbean actor. “Of all the actors out there that could possibly take a role of the dice on the Joker, Johnny Depp (is) actually kinda f*cking perfect,” Smith said on his podcast back in March. “You gotta admit he’d be fun man, like of all the parts he’s played, he’s kind of perfect for a take on The Joker.”

Waiting for the Barbarians hits VOD on August 7.

(Via Samuel Goldwyn Films)