London — Champagne socialites Eddie and Patsy are back onscreen in a movie spin-off of the hugely popular BBC television series Absolutely Fabulous.
The film comes 24 years after the self-absorbed duo, played by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, first hit TV screens in 1992. The pair sat down to talk about the transformation to the big screen, convincing supermodel Kate Moss to film in the Thames and the possibility of more movies.
Was the series always going to be a film? Was that always in the back of your minds that you'd put it onto the big screen?
Lumley: It was always in the back of Jennifer's mind ever since I placed it there in 1995. So, she's been thinking about this for a long time.
Saunders: Yeah, every time I saw you, you'd go to me, "Do a film, write a film, write a film."
Honestly, really, was it?Saunders: Seriously, and then she started telling the press that I was writing a film, so I actually had to write a film. Otherwise I just look stupid. "What happened to the film?" We go, "There was no film, Joanna made it up."Getting Kate Moss on board — was she written in from the beginning?Saunders: I wrote the whole thing and then forgot to ask her. Wrote the whole thing, sold it to Fox and the BBC and they said, "So Kate's up for it?" I went, (snaps fingers) "Got to ask Kate." I just thought she'd be cool about it and she was cool about it. She's, you know... I thought, well if she says no, we have to get a picture of her or something and push it off the balcony.Lumley: Did you really think that? You didn't think that would work on a movie did you? You didn't think pushing a photograph off the edge would work?Saunders: To be honest, I didn't think it through.Lumley: No, you haven't thought it through, Jennifer. This is not the first time.Saunders: No, I know. We were very lucky — very lucky — that she said yes.
And she's such a good sport, as well. I mean, was she actually in the Thames?Lumley: Oh my God yes.Saunders: Yes. She was so good and people were going, "Have a cup of tea, have a blanket" and she'd go, "Oh, you're all being so nice. If this was a modeling shoot they'd just leave me here and tell me to stop shivering."
What was the atmosphere like on set, was there any actual partying?
Saunders: It's hard work because you have to fit an awful lot into a day and you cannot afford to get behind because if you start getting behind then everything falls apart. So, we're on a very tight schedule and we moved like the wind.Lumley: We did, however, have a lunch break when we were filming the Hookie Mookie party and we had a lunch break at the wonderful old Prospect of Whitby, which is one of the most ancient of the English pubs, London pubs.Saunders: We were filming right opposite there, yeah.Lumley: And who was in there?Saunders: There was a lunch and then we got a picture of it, all sitting outside the pub, and it was you, Kate, Gwendoline Christie, Jon Hamm, Janette Tough.
Lumley: You.Saunders: Celia Imrie, Bruno Tonioli. It's just like...Lumley: It was extraordinary. This is just a sample of some of us clumped together there eating fish and chips.Saunders: We were all going, "Look at that picture." Lulu and Emma Bunton probably.Lumley: Yes, I think she was there. The pub was really cool. They just brought us food.Saunders: Honestly it was... We had such a lovely time that day. Just hanging out at the Prospect of Whitby with the gang.And do you think this movie is paving the way for any more? Can you see a sequel or more films coming out?Lumley: Yes we can.Saunders: You see, she's started already. She's started already.Lumley: Yes. I am pleased to say we can see a future.Saunders: She's started already. In a year's time people will be going, "Where's the sequel, Jennifer?" I'll say, "There was no sequel. There was no movie."
Watch the trailer here:
Absolutely Fabulous will be released in South Africa on 23 September.
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