Stephen Frears on ‘Victoria & Abdul’, Directing Judi Dench and His Fantastic Career


With Victoria & Abdul now playing in limited release and expanding into more cities this weekend, I recently had the chance to sit down with director Stephen Frears for an extended video interview. During our wide-ranging conversation, Frears talked about how he got into directing, how Victoria & Abdul came together, his thoughts on test screenings and how they impacted the film, what it’s like directing Judi Dench, how he likes to work with his DP, if he prefers film or digital, if any of his previous films have gone through dramatic changes in the editing room, and so much more. In addition, we talked about Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, his thoughts on deleted scenes, his next project A Very English Scandal staring Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw, and so much more.

If you’re not familiar with Victoria & Abdul, it’s scripted by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) and based on journalist Shrabani Basu’s book Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant. The film tells the true story of Queen Victoria’s (Judi Dench) latter years, when she befriended a young clerk from India named Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) and subsequently struck an unlikely and deep friendship that was looked down upon by her contemporaries. The film also stars Adeel AkhtarEddie Izzard, Simon CallowMichael Gambon, Ruth McCabe,Tim Pigott-SmithJulian WadhamOlivia Williams, and Fenella Woolgar.

Check out what Stephen Frears had to say in the player above; below is exactly what we talked about and the official synopsis.

Stephen Frears:

Image via Focus Features

Image via Focus Features

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