Tom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton Talk BELLE, the Incredible True Story, How They Like to Prepare for a Role, and More

     June 9, 2014


Now playing in select cities is director Amma Asante’s Belle.  The film is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral (Matthew Goode).  Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet also prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing.  Against the ridged boundaries of proper society, Belle finds both her true self and true romance, and influences her uncle to take a role in bringing an end to slavery. The film also stars Sam Reid, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, Penelope Wilton, Tom Felton, and James Norton.

At the New York City press day, I landed an exclusive video interview with Tom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton.  They talked about the incredible true story, what they knew before getting cast, how little the script changed while shooting, how they prepared for the role, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Tom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton:

  • Can we spend the entire interview talking about Shaun of the Dead?
  • How much of the story did they know about the story before getting the script?
  • How much of the script changed during production?
  • How do they like to prepare for a role?

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