Burton And Taylor: The script had me hooked


Tagged with:

Scripts like Burton And Taylor don't come along often.

What made Billy Ivory’s script so special was that it was both an intimate portrayal of two of the most famous film stars that ever lived, and a very universal tale of the perils of dysfunctional love which everyone can identify with.

What happens when a love story ends but you are not quite ready to let that person go?

‘Plenty of people told me not to do this, don’t let me regret it’

It’s about two people who love each other deeply but cannot be together without destroying one another. We can all identify with that, that's why I was so passionate about producing it.

We all wanted to aim high with casting. What would be better than having two film stars playing two film stars?

I'm delighted we were successful in securing my first choices of Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West.

Everything moves so fast when you're working on a low budget, with no room for error, no second chances.

So filming in 18 days was a huge challenge to keep the creative standards up, especially in light of it being a period film, set in 1983, and also the vast majority being set in New York.

We had to make sure all the London locations we used to recreate New York felt right, even down to the street furniture, plugs and light switches.

If you have a good script and the right creative people, you can achieve almost anything. It's of course a drama, but authenticity was very important to us.

Richard (Dominic West) arrives at Elizabeth's (Helena Bonham Carter) 50th birthday party

So for example we knew Richard attended Liz's birthday party while he was in London for a poetry recital and returned to her townhouse following the party.

It was mentioned in numerous newspaper articles, as well as Alexander Walker’s biography of Elizabeth Taylor.

The critics’ reviews Liz quotes in the scene in the diner are a small excerpt from one of the many reviews of the play published at the time.

The big question I always had was why did Richard agree to take part in the play with Elizabeth?

Richard and Elizabeth deny rumours of a third marriage at the Private Lives press conference

He was after all in a happy relationship with the woman who will later become his wife, Sally, and professionally he was also doing well.

Much has been written about Elizabeth’s larger than life personality, her joie de vivre, her charms and power which made it impossible to say no to her.

But I think the answer perhaps lies in their addictive personalities: when one is addicted to something, the lure, the temptation to go back is always there. Which is why they couldn’t ultimately be together.

Having seen the film, would you agree?

Lachlan MacKinnon is the producer of Burton And Taylor.

Burton And Taylor is on at 9pm on Monday, 22 July on BBC Four. For further programme times, please see the upcoming broadcasts page.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

Tagged with:


More Posts