The London press junket for Absolutely Fabulous was held a mere three days after the Brexit vote. It lingered over much of the conversation around the film – at the film’s screening the previous night, producer Jon Plowman lamentably welcomed press to the “independent kingdom of London.” The film itself, though, isn’t overtly political. Like its namesake television show, Absolutely Fabulous functions more as a satire on clueless Baby Boomers and as a tragic-comedy on the refusal to age gracefully. Yet Eddie and Patsy’s absent-minded destructiveness, and their indifference at the resulting chaos (in the feature, they accidentally ‘murder’ Kate Moss and then flee to the South of France), feel extra pointed in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French’s Absolutely Fabulous debuted in 1992, running for three seasons. Since then, the show has been resurrected a number of times: 2001, 2003 and 2011. In each season, the times and culture shift, but Eddie & Patsy remain fixed, narcissistic and as self-absorbed as ever. The comedic spine of the show – Eddie (Saunders) alongside best friend Patsy (Joanna Lumley) acting irresponsibly, and leaving her poor, neglected daughter Saffron (Julia Sawalha) to pick up the pieces – became increasingly dark and tragic as the characters aged. Now in the feature, Saffron will openly tell her mother how she ruined her life, while the 50-something Eddie shrugs the complaint away with a glass of champagne. Basically, Absolutely Fabulous has become a film/television series about how an out-of-touch generation ruined the lives of their children, exemplifying a generational gap that feels all too prescient now in the UK (and perhaps in the US as well).
In the following interview with writer/star Jennifer Saunders and co-star Joanna Lumley, the duo discuss what Eddy & Patsy’s reaction to Brexit would be, the decision to murder Kate Moss in the movie, and the process of adapting a TV show into a feature. For the full interview, watch above.
Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley:
- How Saunders came to the decision to kill Kate Moss in Absolutely Fabulous
- On whether Saunders thought about centering the film on another celebrity death
- Lumley on the process of adapting a thirty-minute TV show into a feature
- Lumley and Saunders on the difference between shooting before a live studio vs. no studio audience for the feature
- Saunders on how she decides when are appropriate times to resurrect Absolutely Fabulous
- Saunders and Lumley on how their approach to Eddie and Patsy have changed over the years
- Saunders and Lumley on how Eddie and Patsy would react to Brexit