Here’s a look at The Lady in the Van, the upcoming film adaptation of Alan Bennett‘s largely beloved 1999 play of the same name, which charts the author’s own interactions with a cranky homeless woman living in an ages-old van who proves to be well-educated and self-reliant, for the most part. (I’m really, really trying not to think of Chris Farley‘s Matt Foley screaming about his van down by the river at this moment, so please, bare with me.) The film version is directed by Nicholas Hytner, who directed the origianl stage production of Bennett’s play and came to prominence by directing the film version of another widely loved Bennett play, The History Boys. Bennett penned the screenplay for the film as well, and the cast, led by Maggie Smith as the titular character, includes at least two of Hytner’s history boys in James Corden and Dominic Cooper.
On top of Cooper, Smith, and Corden, the film includes Alex Jennings, who you may remember as Prince Charles in Stephen Frears‘ wonderful The Queen, plays the character of Bennett, while Jim Broadbent, Roger Allam, and Frances de la Tour fill in some unclear supporting roles in this seemingly amiable tale. Hytner has proven himself a solid hand with this kind of material, especially in The History Boys, but he’s also proved a more-than-competent helmer with the involving dancing dramedy Center Stage and The Madness of King George; he’s also, sadly, the man behind the abhorrent The Object of My Affection. The Lady in the Van looks like more of a sure-bet, actor-driven comedy with a kick of sentimentality in its end, which at least suggests there won’t be anything outright objectionable in this film, though who knows really? The film has yet to secure stateside distribution but this is exactly the kind of material that does well in the winter months, a light, heartwarming comedy led by a reliable character actor. Regardless, the film will see release on November 13th in UK cinemas, as well as in Ireland.
Here’s the trailer for The Lady in the Van: