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Look out for more coverage of
Brideshead Revisited in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Brideshead Revisited

THE STARS:
Matthew Goode • Ben Whishaw • Hayley Atwell
DIRECTOR: Julian Jarrold

Sebastian Flyte (Ben Wishaw) and Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode) THE CONCEPT:
Set in the pre-World War II era, Charles Ryder (Goode) becomes entranced with the noble Marchmain family, first through the provocative Sebastian (Whishaw) and then his sophisticated sister, Julia (Atwell), but he finds his atheism is increasingly at odds with the family’s ardent Catholic beliefs.

U.S. RELEASE: August 1 2008, Limited • Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

HAYLEY ATWELL:
Hayley Atwell“I was doing a play in London and I was given the script of Brideshead Revisited, and [my agent] said, ‘This is a fantastic project and we think you should audition for it.’ So I went in and I did two auditions, and in my first recall I had a moment where Matthew thought that the scene had finished and I had a few more pages, so I carried on, and it said, ‘Julia thwacks Matthew’s character across the face,’ so I did. It was quite a sparky, scary moment, but I think it was that which honestly got me the job. And that was how Julia was born, after that violent outburst.”

MATTHEW GOODE on being in practically every scene of the film:
Emma Thompson and Matthew Goode“I think it’s hard stamina-wise, because of the constraints of the filming. We had to do six days a week, and being in every scene means it’s 16-17 hour days every day, which is fine. In the novel, Charles’ voice is so prominent because he’s the narrator of the story. It felt like you had to convey a huge amount more without having a voice-over, as they did in the original. I did feel huge pressure, and I think particularly if you don’t film it [with the] narrative you’re jumping around all over and suddenly in one day you’re playing all three ages. It gets exhausting to remember where you are in the story, and to flip around era-wise, and that’s where a really good director comes in and keeps you honest.”

ATWELL:
“The costumes helped [in playing the younger and older Julia]. I learned a lot being in a period piece, just what the costumes do for you. You dress differently and you feel differently when you’re wearing certain things and your posture changes. And with [the younger] Julia everything had been kind of straight down, straight bob, straight dropped waists, where the other clothes were a lot more sensual and sophisticated, and that helped me feel the age difference.”

GOODE:
“I thought it was a really good adaptation of the novel. I was slightly worried about Julia being brought in so soon, in the book her character doesn’t enter the fray until book two, chapter two. So by bringing her forward and suddenly having this love triangle going on [it might make] Charles look more ambitious than he actually was at that period of his life. And that was a concern, but I think it actually made it really super interesting. The looks between us just added another ambiguity into the script, not that it needed any more, but it got one.”

ATWELL:
Ben Whishaw“Ben Whishaw is the greatest actor of our generation. I knew of his work and I was in awe of him as soon as I came into this industry. When I found out he was playing Sebastian, I went, ‘Wow, fantastic.’ I immediately fell in love with him. He’s one of those people that I think a lot of people find him intense, I found that he just let me breathe when I was around him. I didn’t have to do or say anything, everything just calmed down. He has a very strong presence and a quiet charisma, which I think comes across in a lot of the work that he does.”

GOODE on what message he hopes audiences take away from the movie:
“That’s a good question, that we’ve upheld the integrity of the novel. I think the themes in it are very strong. It’s not religion, it’s bad parenting combined with religion that can be the downfall of somebody.”

Matthew Goode, Hayley Atwell and Ben Wishaw

Written by Sheila Roberts. Back to top

Visit the official Brideshead Revisited site
Images above © Miramax Pictures
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #699, August 2008 cover

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