UK director Frears tackles comic adaptation
By Stuart Kemp
CANNES (Hollywood Reporter) - British filmmaker Stephen Frears, who directed Helen Mirren to an Oscar in "The Queen," has turned his attention to "Tamara Drewe," a comedy based on a graphic novel by newspaper cartoonist Posy Simmonds.
The movie stars one-time Bond girl Gemma Arterton, British heartthrob and "Mamma Mia!" star Dominic Cooper, U.K. comedy royalty Tamsin Greig, and newcomers Charlotte Christie and Jessica Barden.
A classic British comedy, it details the story of the fallout after a hot young newspaper writer returns to her hometown in the English countryside, where her childhood home is being prepped for sale, stirring up old and new local passions. The source material owes much to Thomas Hardy's "Far From the Madding Crowd."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BRINGING A FILM FIRMLY ROOTED IN BRITISH HUMOR TO THE FRENCH RIVIERA?
Frears: I remember when I discovered what people really like about British film is the loonies on screen. Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, maybe John Cleese -- that's what people like in British films, the dottiness. I love the dottiness but I was rather shocked when someone pointed that out to me (as a so-called serious British filmmaker). It's good, because personally I have dottiness in spades. This film has lots of things that people my mother would have called foreigners associate with English people.
WERE YOU A FOLLOWER OF POSY SIMMONDS' CARTOON STRIPS IN THE GUARDIAN (AND SUBSEQUENT GRAPHIC NOVEL)?
Frears: I used to read the strip in the Guardian. She is one of the great women of Great Britain, I think. She's like a national treasure. To me she's this successful graphic artist and an intellectual at the same time.
THERE ARE CONSTANT REFERENCES TO THOMAS HARDY. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HIS WORK AND IT BEING USED AS A JUMP-OFF POINT FOR CINEMA? Continued...