This blogging job certainly has its perks as you might have gathered (hashtag #blessed haha) but seriously one of the most nourishing aspects of my work is having the opportunity to meet creative heroes of mine, women, and men who have indelibly impacted my life with their art and lives, inspiring my own work and contributing to who I’m becoming every damn day. Looking at you Ava Duvernay, Reece Witherspoon and Oprah! Deep but true.
…June 18th was a ‘tell your grandkids’ kind of moment, aas I attended the press junket for must-see family film of the year, Horrible Histories: The Movie-Rotten Romans interviewing none other than superstar Kim Cattrall (who plays Roman Empress/ matriarch Agrippina in the movie) and award nominated actor (of coming of age film, Submarine), Craig Roberts, who plays her dastardly son Nero whose goal is to murder his mother and take control of the city. Those Romans sure were ruthless!
I was also honoured to interview comedy legend Nick Frost (who plays caring Celt father, Arghus) along with magnetic lead and soon to be superstar, Sebastian Croft (Atti) who you might recognise as the young Ned Stark in The Game of Thrones.
I told you it was quite the day!
So what’s the film about?
Horrible Histories The Movie is directed by TV comedy director of the beloved series, Dominic Brigstocke and follows his treasure chest of comedy gold, I’m Alan Partridge, Green Wing, Arthur and Miller and many more. The movie, his debut, as with the TV series, doesn’t once underestimate the intelligence of its young audience, depicting history, in this case, Roman history, in the most memorable way, through humour.
Both depict author of the Horrible Histories books, Terry Deary’s tone to a t. He actually came on stage at the premiere and noted he couldn’t be happier with how the movie re-imagined his work.
There’s poo jokes aplenty of course, and the signature searing sarcasm we have come to know and love about the series (with less gore which gets this wimpy mum’s seal of approval), resulting in one heck of a brilliant historical film which is, in my opinion, is itself a piece of kid’s film history.
This is a movie that will thankfully replace the achingly dull historical films of old kids are made to watch in some schools across the country, promising to engage and inform students on Roman history, and teachers to boot!
If only I’d had access to films like this as a kid, I would never have dropped History GCSE and who knows where’d I’d be ;)!
Seriously though, Horrible Histories the TV series, and now movie, continues to make history accessible to all. It humanises history in a revolutionary way that we parents still feel staggered by (in a good way). It’s refreshing and light-hearted and I want a sequel please!
Most poignantly, women are front and centre here, driving the narrative forwards: fearless defenders of their countries and communities, sharp, quick witted, caring and courageous. The empowering Boudicca (played by feminist, actress and singer, Kate Nash) boldly leads a Iceni tribe to revolt against Rome and by her side is Orla her biggest fan, a young Celt, played pitch perfectly by Emilia Jones. Girl Power or what?!
Here we are with majestic Kate Nash at the premiere.
My kids watched the film wide-eyed firstly, on our gifted Epson projector (which effortlessly transforms our lounge into a cinema) and then again at the Odeon Luxe on the BIG big screen at the movie premiere as you can see above.
With an ensemble cast that reads like a who’s who of the comedy world, including Derek Jacobi, Tony Gardner, Kevin Bishop, Warwick Davis, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Alexander Armstrong and Lee Mack to name but a few, with catchy songs, silly jokes you’ll replay over and over (I am Farticus comes to mind), you’ll want to watch the movie all over again once it ends.
Which is exactly what we did, attending the premiere a few days after our home preview.
The boys had an absolute (Roman) ball of time at the premiere. There were balloon swords and helmets expertly handmade by artist/actress Jo Hudson, Roman actors eating vomit-like food on the floor of the cinema foyer and of course gags a minute with most of the mammoth ensemble cast live on stage.
I’ll never forget taking Xander, now 6, to our local cinema when he was just four years old and post attending several premieres. He peered up before the film started and enquired straight-faced why the actors hadn’t come on stage this time as the movie was about to start.
The boys have been admittedly spoilt with premieres thanks to my job, and love the spectacle and excitement of them, as much as I do. There’s something incredibly special about having the creatives behind a film (those who manifested the perfect storm it takes to make a movie) come together to view and celebrate their work.
I always feel so privileged to witness this magic and I’ll often be found welling up, reminiscing about that exact feeling of seeing months and sometimes years come together in one day, in my former life as filmmaker.
This was a film we loved that I know you will love.
Do go watch my video interviews below with some of the superstar cast (I love that Kim Cattrall remarked I resembled Cleopatra in my Roman-esque charity-find frock that was a bargainous £4.99. I had to dress the part, right)!
I grew up with Kim’s work forming the montage of my life from her Police Academy Days where I’d watch the movies with my Dad when I should have been asleep to of course, Sex and the City, so it felt dream-like to meet and chat to her. Kim was utterly beautiful as expected, ethereally so, and incredibly warm and kind, leaning in for our photos, laughing about camera lighting and remarking how sweet she thought I was (aw). She followed me on Twitter after the interview, even tweeting that she hoped our paths would cross again which touched my heart.
When I moved into blogging after an award winning career I’d fought hard for as a female director in the TV and Film industry, I never once anticipated the growth, stimulation or dreams made, that lay ahead.
Sometimes, life really does turns out better than expected.
Thank you to Organic Publicity.
Do let me know if you see the movie and your thoughts.
Film stills by Nick Wall.