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24 September 2014
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The Line of Beauty
The Line of Beauty: Oliver Coleman as Toby Fedden and Dan Stevens as Nick Guest

The Line of Beauty


Interview with director Saul Dibb


Director Saul Dibb thinks the casting was one of the most important processes...


"We spent most of our time in pre-production trying to get all the right people for the 50 cast members. Obviously the most important person was Nick Guest; in fact I think it was our single most important decision who was going to play the title role.


"For the younger parts we were casting mainly unknown actors, people who had just come out of drama school who didn't have much screen experience but who had been picked as bright stars and out of that came Dan Stevens, who I hope is going to be a star in his own right.


"And of course Hayley Atwell, as well as Oliver Coleman and Alex Wyndham.


"For me, most of the work is done in the preparation, in terms of working on the script and who you actually get to play the roles.


"I'm certainly very proud of the people we put together, I think they come across incredibly well. It was also very important to make sure that they didn't caricature the people that they were representing because I think its quite easy in a world of upper-middle class Britishness to make them all seem like 'types' or unlikeable."


Saul feels Dan's outstanding performance makes Nick Guest a lot more likeable and warmer than he comes across in the book...


"It's probably more important in film and television than it is in a novel that you are able to engage with the lead characters.


"Books can give you an internal narrative and understanding of the person but it's much more immediate on film and you've got to either care about someone straight away or not.


"They also have to have a very strong screen presence and obviously Dan's got very piercing blue eyes, which he describes as his ‘paycheck'!"


Despite being set in the Eighties, Saul admits he didn't want that to become the focus of the drama...


"I'm always slightly suspicious of period pieces to some extent because people tend to foreground all the things about the period, so, in this you would expect to see lots of Eighties phones or big shoulder pads and all the iconic images of the decade.


"But we were keen to put those in but in the background, so they are part of the whole look and texture of it, but the people and story are what really matter. It's not about some sentimental, nostalgic trip about the Eighties."


Saul Dibb was clear that he did not want to shy away from the gay sex scenes...


"With sex scenes, it's very difficult to write exactly what is going to happen and to put stage directions in so Andrew Davies left them open and I thought it was my role to explore them honestly and with the actors feeling comfortable and then to decide how much and what we needed in the cutting room.


"Ultimately, to be governed by what was actually happening in the subtext of the scene and not necessarily the sex.


"I think they feel real and quite tender and they all feel very different. I approached them in exactly the same as if I would a heterosexual sex scene and that was my governance really and I didn't want to start changing them just because they are gay."



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