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Idris Elba is a genie in Three Thousand Years of Longing

The story of a genie who gives out three wishes is one of the more popular fairy tales in several cultures. However, Three Thousand Years of Longing features a genie like you’ve never seen before. Idris Elba is playing the djinn, and his new master is Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton), a scholar who doesn’t really believe in magic or genies.

In the first trailer for Three Thousand Years of Longing, we learn how Alithea acquires the lamp that served as both home and prison for the djinn. It’s also pretty hard for Alithea to argue against the existence of magic when the djinn appears to her as a true giant before taking on a more size-appropriate form. He also has a proposition for Alithea: Three wishes in exchange for his freedom.


Unfortunately for the djinn, Alithea is fully aware that making three wishes is almost always a cautionary tale. To counter her suspicions, the djinn will spin the tales of people who lived thousands of years before Alithea. And perhaps their stories will allow Alithea to write her own chapter and come to realize her heart’s desire.

Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba in Three Thousand Years of Longing.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Alyla Browne co-stars as Young Alithea, with Aamito Lagum as Queen of Sheba, Burcu Gölgedar as Zefir, Matteo Bocelli as Prince Mustafa, Kaan Guldur as Murad IV, Jack Braddy as Ibrahim, Hugo Vella as Young Ibrahim, Pia Thunderbolt as Ezgi, Anna Adams as Sugar Lamp, David Collins as Jocular Storyteller, and Angie Tricker as Narratologist.

George Miller directed the film and co-wrote the script based on The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye by A. S. Byatt with Augusta Gore. United Artists will release Three Thousand Years of Longing in theaters on August 31, and it will likely stream on Prime Video a few months after that.

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Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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