Gosford Park (2001) Poster



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By her own admission, Kristin Scott Thomas was famously difficult on set whilst working on the film. In an interview with a British newspaper in 2005, she said that "when I did Gosford Park (2001) with Robert Altman, apparently I was a complete nightmare. I was very imperious and completely foul and horrible. And I had no idea I was doing it at all. Actually, that's not entirely true; I did wonder why people were giving me sideways looks, and there would be this odd hush whenever I walked into a room. The only explanation I could come up with was that I was half in character the whole time. I was playing this woman who was difficult and so I became difficult. But I did apologize to everyone afterwards."
None of the actors who played servants wore any make-up.
In the DVD commentary, director Robert Altman states he included the F-word several times on purpose to get an R-rating because he didn't want kids to see the film - he thought kids wouldn't like the film so he wanted to keep them out (especially 14-year-old boys).
There is always a servant present in each scene.
According to Julian Fellowes, the last scene between Mrs Croft and Mrs Wilson, beginning after Croft enters the room and hushes her sister, was completely improvised by the two actors.
This movie is singular in that no fewer than six British Knights of the Theatre are in the cast: Alan Bates, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Eileen Atkins, Helen Mirren, and Maggie Smith all have received the highest national honor for contributions to drama.
The jewelry worn by the upstairs ladies in the film was all authentic and had to be escorted in by armed guards each day.
The camera is always moving (if only slightly) in every shot of the film as requested by director Robert Altman.
Ivor Novello (played by Jeremy Northam) was a well known London matinée idol, singer and composer who starred in Alfred Hitchcock's silent classic The Lodger (1927). He had a good voice and starred again in the successful "talkie" remake The Phantom Fiend (1932). In Gosford Park (2001), set in November 1932, Countess Constance (Maggie Smith) refers to the remake as a flop.
During group scenes, director Robert Altman had two cameras going at all times, moving about (out of each other's shot, of course). His intention was to prevent the actors from acting to the camera but instead to play the scene more naturalistically.
When Jeremy Northam's character plays the piano, it is actually his brother Christopher who is playing. Christopher Northam is a classically trained pianist.
The wallpaper in Constance Trentham's bedroom is hand-painted, imported from France. Even for this very small set, it would have cost the filmmakers $18,000; however, the manufacturer donated it to the production. Even so, the owners of the house demanded that the walls were re-papered to their liking (to match their bedding) after the production was over.
Ryan Phillippe was cast at the 11th hour, replacing an actor who had withdrawn.
Bob Balaban recommended to Robert Altman that Julian Fellowes write the screenplay. "Altman asked him to try it, and maybe six weeks later Julian sent the first 75 pages. It was clear that he was brilliant and his knowledge of class society, the workings of it, was encyclopedic. This talented writer, moldering away as a relatively unsuccessful actor! That was a brass ring, and he took it. It's part of the key to his current success, his work ethic. He doesn't procrastinate. He doesn't hide. He works like a demon." (Alex Wichtel, NYTimes 9/2011)
Eileen Atkins, who plays Mrs Croft the cook, was co-creator (with actress Jean Marsh) of the classic British drama series Upstairs, Downstairs (1971). The movie also features Meg Wynn Owen, who starred in the series from 1973-1975
Jude Law was originally cast as Henry Denton, but dropped out.
The name Gosford Park is never once said in the film.
Altman consulted the writer Ezna Sands in depth on the idea before commencing with the project, having wanted to employ his doctoring skills on the script. Sands simply said it was as close to perfect as it could possibly be.
There really was a Charlie Chan in London (1934) film made in 1934 and it was indeed a mystery set in an English manor house. While it did feature Alan Mowbray and Ray Milland, it was produced by John Stone, not Morris Weissman (a fictional character).
Maggie Smith plays an aristocrat who looks down on her maid, though she played a lady's maid to a snobby aristocrat played by Bette Davis in Death on the Nile (1978), and Davis similarly played a deranged governess to an upper class family in the chiller The Nanny (1965).
Alan Rickman, Joely Richardson and Judi Dench were considered for roles in the film.
Inspector Thompson never gets a chance to introduce himself properly to the guests, although he is more forceful and brusque with servants.
Kenneth Branagh was first choice for Inspector Thompson but had to decline owing to a scheduling conflict.
Alan Bates, Michael Gambon and Tom Hollander both went on to play King George V. Bates played the role in Bertie and Elizabeth (2002), Gambon in The King's Speech (2010) and Hollander in The Lost Prince (2003).
Cast members Alan Bates and Derek Jacobi share two roles with each other: Hamlet, and his uncle, Claudius.
Stephen Fry is dressed and moves like Jacques Tati's character M. Hulot. When asked if there was a particular reason for this, producer David Levy replied, "It amused Bob [Altman]."

Director Trademark 

Robert Altman:  [dialogue overlap]  Rather than just use a typical boom mike to pick up dialogue, Altman had all the actors wear portable microphones to assist in creating overlapping dialogue. A technique he first developed during A Wedding (1978) and has used several times since.

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