Dame Judi Dench hopes her new movie will help audiences “forget about Brexit”.
The 86-year-old actress portrays eccentric medium Madame Arcati in the adaptation of Noel Coward‘s comedy ‘Blithe Spirit’ and she wants the film to provide viewers with some light relief in a time of uncertainty so they can spend time immersed in the tale of the afterlife and not have to think about things they are worried about, such as the consequences of the UK finally leaving the European Union (EU).
She said: “I hope audiences will have a lovely time and have a laugh and be transported for a bit so that they can forget the things they’re worried about, like Brexit.”
Coward’s original play was seen as a risk when it was released amid the second world war, but it proved to be a huge success and his estate hope the film will have a similar impact.
Alan Brodie of the Coward estate said: “Coward wrote it to distract audiences from the awful time they were having. It seems so apt now that the film can do the same.
“What the writers have done really well is manage to keep the wit of Coward, but at same time bring a modern comic feel to it. It doesn’t feel old-fashioned although it’s set in the period. That’s really hard to pull off.”
The movie follows crime novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the medium to conduct a seance at his home, only for her to cause havoc by conjuring up the spirit of his annoying first wife, and Judi had a great time playing the “dream” role.
She said in an interview recorded by the filmmakers: “Being asked to play Madame Arcati is kind of a dream come true. In our adaptation, she doesn’t just come in for a couple of scenes – she goes on a bit and causes even more chaos, but subsequently has a really wonderful part to play.”
The movie is directed by Edward Hall, whose late father, Sir Peter Hall, founded the Royal Shakespeare Company and headed the National Theatre, so had worked with Judi on many occasions.
The veteran actress said of the connection: “What is wonderful about working with Ed is that I met his father in 1962. It is just glorious working with Ed now. I keep saying to him, ‘You are so like your father’. And he has a talent like Peter too.
“It’s so strange, in Blithe Spirit – where you see ghosts of people – in a way I see, well, more than a ghost of Peter in Ed.”