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Dev Patel explores the layered life of David Copperfield

August 25th, 2020Dev Patel explores the layered life of David Copperfield

The popcorn is popping, the marquees are lit, and our projectors are playing movies again! As movie fans start their return to the theatre, no one is more excited than the minds behind The Personal History of David Copperfield! Based on the 1850 Victorian era novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, the film adaptation follows David from his time as a young boy to his rise as a well-known author. While David’s story is an exceptional tale it’s the cast of characters that revolve around him that really make it shine.

We were able to sit down with Director Armando Iannucci, star Dev Patel and the amazing Hugh Laurie to talk about their triumphant return to cinema and the path that it took to get there. You won’t have to wait long to see their new film, The Personal History of David Copperfield arrives in cinemas on August 28th and Tickets are on sale now!

AMC Theatres: The Personal History of David Copperfield will be one of the first films back on the big screen. Are you excited to see audiences return to the theatre to enjoy your work?

Armando Iannucci: What I miss is that interaction with audiences. Normally when you make a film and take it around to all the festivals and all the main cities, and you get to talk to audiences afterward. That is what I’ve missed. If we can get a bit of that going, then that is great!

This film is about community, it’s about that mass experience, supporting each other, and that needs to happen communally.

AMC Theatres: This film has an incredible and diverse cast! Can you share the collaboration process between the cast and you while filming on set?

Dev Patel: It was a real joy, every day, I was particularly lucky because I got to be in these tiny pods with Hugh Laurie and Tilda Swinton, then I was with Peter, then with Daisy and Aneurin and so forth. There was such a range of energies, and performance styles. It was real family style; Armando had created this energy where we were all so collaborative. You felt confident to go out there, with the comedy or the drama, and no one was going to judge you.

Armando Iannucci: Hopefully when we sent the script around, it had this sense of fun and we projected a collaborative element that we wanted. I think for everyone, it was like, “why not, let’s give it a go and see what happens.” When you have got an ensemble of that size you don’t really know what the final sound is going to be, which is nice really because it’s a genuine surprise really.

What we did to get that sense of everyone knowing each other, we rehearsed to two to three weeks in advance. We had everyone in an old windy church hall, somewhere hidden in London, we really just mucked around for two to three weeks and that is where the sense of the ensemble comes from.

That’s where we worked out a lot of the comic set pieces, like hiding the drinks from Mr. Wickfield, do you remember Dev, we spent and afternoon just mapping that out. How many beats we could get into before he grabbed the bowl.

AMC Theatres: Dev, we saw that with your character, you got to explore multiple different personalities, how did you prepare for that and were you worried about taking on such a prolific character?

Dev Patel: He does try on a lot of skins through out the film, it’s about a young man trying to figure out his place in the world, dealing with his own anxiety and sense of imposter syndrome, growing up having a lot then losing it all, he’s constantly on unstable ground, it was really fun!

AMC Theatres: Hugh, there are a lot of different faces to your character as well, how did you develop the madness behind that?

Hugh Laurie: Well it was all there. I feel like the script was so… it was a challenge; it was daring actors to go as far as the script went. It was all contained in there and it’s absolutely beautiful, by Armando and Simon Blackwell, it was daunting at times, because the script was sort of trippy in a way. The way the story unfolds, weird sorts of distortions of time and place, those things kind of conform the way memory operates, things are not in a clear sequence, we’re not a CCTV machine, we have these impressions that come and go. I think Mr. Dick was just a character that I was immensely drawn to, he’s such a kind hearted character, a confused character, a man dealing with an affliction, but none the less a good hearted character that it was lovely to spend time with.

We absolutely loved it! You can enjoy this lighthearted comedy at an AMC Theatre near you starting August 28th!

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