a diverse cast to reflect reality
October 3, 2019 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Armando Iannucci rips up rules with Dickens adaption: The Personal History of David Copperfield [The Guardian] ““It was like Manhattan in the 1920s,” said Iannucci. “London then and London now was and is a global city. We wanted to make a city that the audience would recognise and the characters would recognise.” The director said there is a big debate at the moment about “what Britain is and what it is not”, and how it has become excluded on the world stage, and the film’s outlook offers another perspective. “I wanted to celebrate what I think Britain is, which is something more lively and vibrant and cheery,” he said. “Personally, I’m an optimist.”” [YouTube][Official Trailer]

• Why Dev Patel in Dickens could change film forever [The Guardian]
““In all our conversations, we never spoke about another actor to play our lead than Dev,” he explains. “We often have lists for parts, but we never had a list for David Copperfield.” You can see why Patel is perfect. Dickens’s story is the tale of an orphaned boy making his way in the world and finding himself as a man. That is precisely the kind of innocence and experience story in which the Slumdog Millionaire and Lion actor shines – with all that boyish eagerness and puppy dog warmth. But it is not just Patel. The cast of The Personal History of David Copperfield resembles the top deck of a bus in any big British city. Benedict Wong is Mr Wickfield. Rosalind Eleazar plays Copperfield’s true love, saintly Agnes. Dastardly Steerforth is portrayed by a white Welsh actor (Aneurin Barnard) with a Nigerian-born Brit, Nikki Amuka-Bird, as his mother, Mrs Steerforth. “Armando always knew he wanted Dev,” says Loader. “Once you realise that, then you’re making a statement about the fact that you’re going to cast actors who are capable of embodying the character as perfectly as possible, regardless of their ethnicity. I was standing on the side of the set the other day, watching a scene between three of the younger characters. I suddenly realised I was watching three young black British actors in a Dickens adaptation, none of which were written as black characters. And it didn’t seem odd. It’s just another scene in the film.””
posted by Fizz (26 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Fizz at 2:15 PM on October 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Laughed through the entire trailer. Can't wait.
posted by gwint at 2:25 PM on October 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm here for anything Iannucci brings to the table anyway, but the cast in that trailer - holy shit.
posted by AdamCSnider at 2:52 PM on October 3, 2019 [6 favorites]

I hate Dickens more than maybe any other author who has ever written in the English language, and yet I will probably be first in line the day this opens in theaters.
posted by General Malaise at 2:57 PM on October 3, 2019 [9 favorites]

I have the gravest of misgivings about the casting. I simply don’t think I can accept Peter Capaldi playing Mr. Micawber with a full head of hair or the thin-faced Hugh Laurie as Mr. Dick.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:34 PM on October 3, 2019

I love the trailer and can't wait to see the movie. It got me thinking: This is first time in a long time that Laurie has done a truly daffy role. I mean, like, not the Prince Regent daffy, but approaching in that direction. I didn't realize how much I missed it.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 3:43 PM on October 3, 2019 [7 favorites]

This looks absolutely splendid! What a fun trailer.
posted by merriment at 3:54 PM on October 3, 2019

“This is a donkey-free zone” seems like a poor policy to me.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:58 PM on October 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oddly it was the "Donkey-free zone" line that got my anachronism-hating hackles rising. Though usually that sort of thing annoys me because it seems so lazy. I don't think I'd want to accuse Iannucci of laziness, though.
posted by Grangousier at 4:18 PM on October 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

My girlfriend and I both loathe Dickens, but as Gen. Malaise says i am here for this.
posted by East14thTaco at 4:27 PM on October 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

I went to a production of A Christmas Carol last Christmas with a cast as diverse as fuck, and it was awesome!. At one point, one of the friends I was with whispered to me, "Would there have been Jamaican women in Victorian London?" And I said, "There was everybody in Victorian London!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:41 PM on October 3, 2019 [12 favorites]

From that trailer, from the first moment to the last, it was a costume “drama” that actually felt really alive. Can’t wait.
posted by njohnson23 at 4:50 PM on October 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

This Victorianist is excited! Dickens adaptations shouldn't come encased in reverent shrink-wrap.

Also, that's a seriously un-Swintonish role.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:57 PM on October 3, 2019 [6 favorites]

Costume comedy. Absolutely.

Dickens has a reputation for being a dour old white dude, but this is the first adaptation I've seen that captures some of the weirdness of his writing. It seems to lean more zany than I remember DC actually being, but maybe I need to re-read the book. This movie is definitely going on my watch list, regardless.
posted by basalganglia at 4:59 PM on October 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

I hope they actually bother to promote this so I can know it's available to watch. So many movies sound good to me months before they come out and then I see them on streaming long afterwards. Let me support you!
posted by bleep at 5:37 PM on October 3, 2019

Iannucci won me over for life with the strength of The Thick of It as well as his one hour Dickens documentary for the beeb some years ago. Reading Dickens myself has always been a stop-start endeavor, but Iannucci's enthusiasm for the dude is infectious, so I keep wanting to try.

I certainly have no personal fondness for David Copperfield after having to read it for a Victorian literature class back in college, but I am willing to give it another chance to see how Iannucci directs his vision of it, and I am super stoked for any new Armando Iannucci project in general. Even when I had my doubts about The Death of Stalin on paper, it ended up being a hilarious movie despite the grim trappings (and straightforward darkness near the end).

Plus, it's always nice seeing "DUNDEE" in all caps at the end of the credits :D
posted by rather be jorting at 5:51 PM on October 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

Also, Dev Patel as the protag? The rest of that cast listing? Stoked!!!
posted by rather be jorting at 5:55 PM on October 3, 2019

Is it wrong that I want Capaldi to just basically be Malcolm Tucker in this?
posted by acidnova at 6:13 PM on October 3, 2019 [7 favorites]

I want Capaldi to be Malcolm Tucker in EVERYTHING. So you’re not alone?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:22 PM on October 3, 2019 [11 favorites]

I too always want Capaldi to be Malcolm Tucker in everything, you have my support
posted by rather be jorting at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2019 [7 favorites]

Obligatory Malcolm Tucker as Doctor Who trailer mention. Still a work of genius and definitly nsfw https://youtu.be/5Blf073f2Lc
posted by ewan at 2:50 AM on October 4, 2019

Well this looks positively delightful. No strong opinions on Dickens either way but Iannucci is an immediate YES PLEASE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE so I'm looking forward to a lovely date night with DC in the future.
posted by youarenothere at 5:52 AM on October 4, 2019

Has anyone got the video clip of the Q&A with the cast and Iannucci in which someone asks why they went the diverse route (I don't remember the exact phrasing) and before Iannucci could answer, Hugh Laurie stepped forward with mic in hand and said something like "May I ask what made you ask that question?"

Hugh Laurie, for all that he played House for a million years, is not the kind of guy you'd expect to just shut down an audience member's question like that, and I am LIVING for it.
posted by tzikeh at 6:48 AM on October 4, 2019 [16 favorites]

tzikeh, I believe you're looking for this, at the 20:15 mark.
posted by anastasiav at 10:16 AM on October 4, 2019 [7 favorites]

This looks brilliant.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:20 PM on October 4, 2019

re: casting

I am digging everyone's fabulous luxurious flowing locks and look forward to seeing them, big, projected onto a gigantic screen
posted by rather be jorting at 10:38 AM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

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