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Don't expect a comprehensive, detailed coverage of THE MAKING OF 'THE
QUEEN' from this short featurette that appears on the DVD of THE QUEEN.
Most of it is directed towards the cast and how they interpreted their roles. HELEN MIRREN claims that it was "dangerous to play a living person" and that at first she was nervous about assuming the role. Then she worked out the look of the character--the hair, the stance, the voice--and knew she wanted to project great self-control and dignity. MICHAEL SHEEN watched many videos of Tony Blair to observe and study his mannerisms, trying to find "little hooks as to what's going on in the character's mind". JAMES CROMWELL knew that Prince Philip had to be portrayed more than just in the speech, but with the spirit within. To impersonate would be a trap. SYLVIA SYMS saw the Queen as a "tiny person who had this sparkle".
STEPHEN FREARS had his own doubts and misgivings about tackling the direction of such a project, but was enthusiastic about it once things got started and he felt the actors were doing a wonderful job.
The production designers describe their own feelings about creating the world these people lived in, as well as the costume designer and others involved in the film's look. But no mention is made of the script itself, how it evolved, how much was based on actual knowledge of the intimate conversations that make up the bulk of the story. This would have provided more gravitas to the whole thing.
Interesting for what is presented, but not entirely satisfying. One fact that interested me is that the director wanted to show Blair's new world vision for Britain as opposed to the Queen's old-fashioned one.
Having enjoyed the exploration of the week of Diana's death in The
Queen I was looking to the Making Of documentary to provide more value
to the film. Broken into several chapters, this short documentary looks
at the challenges facing the actors playing real people in real events,
the look of the film and the reality of the week itself. However I must
confess that the film did not really live up to the potential within
The access to the cast is good although really they don't have a huge amount to say once they get through the discussions over avoiding impersonations and such. The overview of the design of the film sits uncomfortably with the other topics although it is vaguely interesting for what it is. The cast and crew views back on the week were OK but the film itself does it much better and it did feel rather redundant. What was really missing was discussion over the writing process. I'm not sure how close to reality it was or if Morgan was working from a position of knowledge or not and I actually had hoped that the documentary would focus on this; quite why it was deemed that the viewer would be more interested in the set design and locations than where the insightful and smart script actually came from.
Overall then it is an OK documentary but it never pushes the boat out far enough to risk the viewer forgetting that they are watching a DVD promo.
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