Comedian David Baddiel took a break from writing sketches and stand-up material to pen big screen comedy The Infidel. He wrote it with a mind to casting his fellow funny-man Omid Djalili who was only too happy to star as a Pakistani Muslim Londoner whose world is rocked when he discovers that he was adopted. And that his real parents were Jewish...
Trying to generate comic sparks from racial friction can be a dangerous business, but Baddiel found an ally in filmmaker Josh Appignanesi. His debut feature, Song of Songs (2005), also dealt with religious issues, albeit in a very serious context. Prior to that he wrote and directed a number comedy shorts, but it was his work as a script editor that put him in the way of Baddiel. Together they developed the screenplay and Appignanesi later stepped up to direct.
The film has gotten a warm reception for its affectionate portrayals on both sides of the racial divide and, talking to BBC Film Network, Baddiel and Djalili reveal that it was just the same when they were shooting it on the streets of London. However, they also share a few bitter experiences and Appignanesi tells us why religion is such a hot topic for him as well.
Interview by Stella Papamichael. Editing by Ravi Ajit Chopra.
The Infidel is released nationwide on Friday 9th April.