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Island isolation: Jude Law stars in HBO's eerie drama 'The Third Day'

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Rachel Jones / TV Media
Jude Law stars in "The Third Day"

Jude Law stars in "The Third Day"

The disturbing and captivating new series "The Third Day" premieres Monday, Sept. 14, on HBO. The thriller was originally scheduled to premiere May 11 of this year, but the project was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, which made production almost impossible and delayed the show's release.

"The Third Day" follows Sam (Jude Law, "The Nest," 2020), a man who travels alone and ends up on a mystical island off the British coast in the dead of summer. In a separate but connected dimension, another outsider named Helen (Naomie Harris, "Black and Blue," 2019) also finds her way to the island.

The series features other stars, including Katherine Waterston ("Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," 2016), Paddy Considine ("How to Build a Girl," 2020), Emily Watson ("Chernobyl"), John Dagleish ("The Gentlemen," 2019) and Freya Allan ("The Witcher").

The series is divided into three distinct yet interconnected plots. The first batch of episodes, entitled "Summer" and directed by Marc Munden ("Utopia," 2013), follows Sam as he explores the mysterious island. He's met there by locals who are keen on preserving their traditions, no matter the cost.

The second chapter, "Autumn," will be a live event broadcast from London, England. It's been described by producers as a "major immersive theater event." This live installment of the series, which features Law, Harris and the rest of the cast, can be viewed on a single take, and it's meant to let the audience step inside the story as it unfolds.

"Autumn" offers the audience a deeper experience of the mystical island, allowing them to view it in a real-time broadcast. This interactive segment runs in a single, uninterrupted, cinematic take that showcases the locals' rituals and traditions and how they blur the lines of reality.

The third batch of episodes, "Winter," was directed by Philippa Lowthorpe ("Three Girls"). It focuses on the strong-willed Helen, who arrives on the island in search of solutions. But when she inadvertently creates a bigger conflict, it eventually leads to a battle that will determine the future of the island and its inhabitants. The psychological thriller is nothing short of mesmerizing, as it lays out an enchanting yet twisted world where nothing is what it seems, and viewers are taken on a series of crazy twists and turns that ultimately lead to a shocking climax.

A new, more expansive trailer for the series (after the teaser that was released in April) has been unveiled by HBO. It features Sam driving into the island as locals talk about the place being something special. But the road to it suddenly ends as it sinks underwater, and it seems that Sam will be trapped in paradise for good.

The island's inhabitants are tight-lipped, and as the truth of local rituals and the island's secrets start to sweep over Sam, he attempts to resolve the trauma of his past as his present is flooded with his nightmares.

Naomie Harris in "The Third Day"

Naomie Harris in "The Third Day"

Some are already comparing the show to the now-classic ABC series "Lost" and the 1973 British horror flick "The Wicker Man," due mostly to the eeriness and mystery. According to critics, "The Third Day" has the potential to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Meanwhile, fans who have been treated to an early viewing have compared it to the celebrated 2019 horror film "Midsommar," which featured a couple getting entangled with a pagan cult during a trip to Sweden.

Filming for series began in July 2019 in the United Kingdom after it was announced that Law would be fronting the cast. Munden was then hired as director for the first three episodes, which were written by Dennis Kelly ("Pulling"). That same month, the cast was expanded, and it was announced that Waterston, Considine and Watson had joined the cast. By August, Harris and Dagleish had joined the lineup, too, with Lowthorpe on board to helm the final three episodes.

With Law on board, it's no wonder that the show is already making waves. He's been recognized for his exceptional performances with a BAFTA Film Award, two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe nominations. He's also received nominations for three Laurence Olivier Awards and two Tony Awards for his theater performances. In 2007, he was presented with an Honorary C├ęsar award and was recognized for his contribution to World Cinema Arts and named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.

Harris, meanwhile, is an English actress who is having somewhat of a moment. She won the hearts of critics with her role in the Oscar-winning film "Moonlight" (2016), a performance that also won her a slew of nominations (Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Award) for Best Supporting Actress. You may also know her from the most recent James Bond films, in which she stars as the legendary Eve Moneypenny -- the newest installment, "No Time to Die," premieres in November of this year. In 2017, Harris was also appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her work in drama.

With such an acting pedigree, it's no wonder there are such high expectations for the series. Prepare yourself to get lost in "The Third Day" when it premieres Monday, Sept. 14, on HBO.