The Lost King

The Film

The Lost King is a 2022 British biographical film directed by Stephen Frears. Written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, it is based on the 2013 book 'The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III' by Philippa Langley and Michael Jones.

It is a dramatisation of the story of Edinburgh resident Philippa Langley (Sally Hawkins), the woman who initiated the search to find King Richard III's remains under a car park in Leicester, and her treatment by the University of Leicester in the claiming of the credit for the discovery. Steve Coogan and Harry Lloyd also star.

The Lost King was produced by Pathé, Baby Cow, BBC Film and Ingenious Media, and distributed by Pathé in France and Switzerland as a standalone distributor, and in the UK via Warner Bros. Pictures. The film premiered at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival on 10th September 2022, and was released in the United Kingdom on 7th October 2022.


Sally Hawkins as Philippa Langley; she becomes passionately interested in Richard III, joins the local Richard III Society, and embarks on a quest to find and exhume his body.

Steve Coogan as John Langley; herestranged husband, who later supports her quest and reconciles with her moving back in with the family.

Harry Lloyd as King Richard III, and as an actor who plays the lead in a performance of Richard III attended by Langley; Richard III appears to Langley several times in the film and speaks with her.

Mark Addy as Richard Buckley; the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) archaeologist in charge of the dig who initially supports Langley but later lets her down by not sufficiently acknowledging her central importance to the project; Buckley is granted an honorary doctorate by the University of Leicester.

Lee Ingleby as Richard Taylor; the deputy registrar from the University of Leicester who is initially obstructive and dismissive of Langley's project, but who later is an enthusiastic supporter.

James Fleet as John Ashdown-Hill; the medieval historian who tells Langley that Greyfriars would likely be under open ground (for example, such as a car park) and that he has tracked down a living direct descendant of Richard III in Canada who could be used for DNA-verification of any bones discovered

Bruce Fummey as Hamish; a member of the Richard III Society who encourages Langley to follow her dreams and undertake her own research.

Amanda Abbington as Sheila Lock, the chair of the Leicester City Council (LCC) funding committee, and CEO of the LCC, who supports Langley's dig.