Stephen Frears: I Knew Nothing About VICTORIA & ABDUL

The movie is adapted from Shrabani Basu’s 2010 novel Victoria & Abdul.

BackstageOL’s Dave Morales sat down with director Stephen Frears in this backstage interview to talk about his biographical drama, Victoria & Abdul.

In the interview, Frears shared how he knew “absolutely nothing” about the unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria and Indian clerk, Abdul Karim, before coming across Shrabani Basu’s 2010 novel Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant.

The story has been hidden from world for nearly 100 years, with it only been discovered by Basu in the late 1990’s, when she was, at the time, researching the history of curry for a different novel.

As for why he chose Dame Judi Dench to portray the queen, the director said, “I said I’d only make it with her… she was born to play Queen Victoria.”

The film’s synopsis:

Abdul Karim arrives from India to participate in Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee. The young clerk is surprised to find favor with the queen herself. As Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance that her household and inner circle try to destroy. As their friendship deepens, the queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes, joyfully reclaiming her humanity.

Victoria & Abdul hit theaters September 29th. For more from Frears, check out the full interview below!

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