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लंडन Film Festival: Colin मॉर्गन Interview For ‘Testament Of Youth’
लंडन Film Festival: Colin मॉर्गन Interview For ‘Testament Of Youth’
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London Film Festival: Colin Morgan Interview For ‘Testament Of Youth’
Making its World Premiere tonight (October 14th) at the BFI London Film Festival, ‘Testament of Youth’ is a powerful story of love, war and remembrance. The film is based on the First World War memoir by Vera Brittain, a story that has become the classic testimony of that war from a woman’s point of view. A searing journey from youthful hopes and dreams to the edge of despair and back again, it’s a film about young love, the futility of war and how to make sense of the darkest times. ‘Testament of Youth’ is led by Alicia Vinkander as Vera Brittain, and the stellar cast also includes the likes of Kit Harington, Taron Egerton, Colin Morgan, Dominic West, Emily Watson, Joanna Scanlan, Hayley Atwell, Jonathan Bailey, Alexandra Roach, and Anna Chancellor.
Set for January 16th, 2015, ‘Testament Of Youth’ is directed by James Kent (The Thirteenth Tale, The White Queen) and produced by David Heyman (Gravity, the Harry Potter movies) and Rosie Alison (Paddington, The Thirteenth Tale) for Heyday Films. Award-winning writer Juliette Towhidi adapted the screenplay. Tickets are still available for public screenings on the 14th and 16th of October at the London Film Festival.
How did you become involved in this film in the first place, and what was it about the script that moved you?
Colin Morgan: I first became aware of ‘Testament Of Youth’ when I received the script. Some scripts immediately speak to you, and this one certainly did. The script was what sparked my interest in the film. I immediately wanted to come in and have my shot at Victor. I was lucky enough to do that, and that’s how the process started.
The entire story of ‘Testament Of Youth’ is emotionally wealthy. Vera’s story is about a girl on the cusp of being a woman who saw the most unimaginable things during the war. The theme of lost youth really struck me. An entire generation of people lost their lives. Even those who survived the war came out the other end lost as well. They never got to experience being young men. They never got a chance to go to university. The younger generation still had life to come, and the older generation had a life to go back to. The generation that went to war didn’t know where to go after it was over. Vera is the cornerstone of the story – as people fall away around her, she carries on straight ahead. It’s an absolute testament to her. To be such a courageous woman, especially in that time period, is an inspiration.
Can you tell us a little bit about your character Victor? He certainly goes on a journey….
Colin Morgan: Yeah. Victor Richardson is Roland and Edward’s schoolmate and best friend. They are a band of brothers, affectionately called ‘The Three Musketeers’. Victor is from a less privileged background than Edward and Roland and sometimes feels unable to articulate himself. He is quite reserved in showing his feelings, even to those closest to him and doesn’t have the common egotistical nature of that era. He’s good- natured, trustworthy, caring, and sensitive to others feelings. In the moments of Vera’s tragedy, Victor is there for her completely, despite all that he’s been through during the war and is very drawn to her. He and Vera are both good-natured and honest, but while Victor is self-effacing and timid, Vera is strong, passionate, opinionated, and direct. She possesses qualities that are almost polar opposite to him, which he is attracted to. He finds her very exciting.
At the beginning of the film, we find Victor excited about the future. Being a young man at that time, there was a huge pressure to go to war. Having gone to Uppingham School, Victor had been conditioned and bred to be a part of the war heroics. Victor was heavily conflicted because he never fully felt that duty in his heart. He is not initially fit for service due to poor eyesight, and he struggles with the shame of not going to war. At that time, there was a big question of masculinity and what it meant to be a man if you didn’t go to war. He was surrounded by men in uniform and he wasn’t a part of them. Because of England’s desperation for soldiers, Victor eventually gets drafted into the war and unfortunately comes out with a disability. It is a testament to Victor’s character the way he deals with a disability in such a cheerful manner. Victor’s ultimate battle is understanding how he could put so much trust in his country and have it betray him so badly.
Where did you start with your research for this film?
Colin Morgan: I began my research for ‘Testament Of Youth’ by going to the book itself. We’re very lucky to have the inspiration for the film as a resource to use. The book has allowed me to really understand Vera’s voice, which is also strong in the film. The letters are also very useful in determining the characters’ voices. Knowing that I was reading Victor’s own words in his letters was incredible and extremely helpful. I was able to access exactly how he spoke, how he thought, what expressions he used, and how he felt about all the tragedies he underwent.
Colin Morgan: Representing someone else’s life brings a sense of honour and pride, but also a sense of duty. I don’t think Victor could’ve imagined that there would be a book or film featuring him, so I want to portray him accurately. I became very attached to these characters as I began to understand them, even a hundred years apart. Because I connected in such a special way with Victor, I have to fight to achieve a portrayal of him that’s as truthful, honest and honourable as possible.
Can you tell me a bit about Roland, Edward and Victor’s relationship, and what was it like working with Kit and Taron
Colin Morgan: Roland, Edward and Victor are best friends with Roland as the lead musketeer. He’s the head of the class and the head of all the teams and represents the ideal boy at that age. Victor and Edward are very driven by him. Edward is quite private and sometimes hard to get to know, but also the driving force behind the fun of the three boys. Victor doesn’t come from as affluent a background as the others, so there is a slight sense of inadequacy surrounding him. The harrowing part of this film is seeing how strong and happy these three boys are together and how the war splinters that. You see them learn how to deal with things on their own.
Working with Kit Harington and Taron Egerton has been great. We bring very different qualities and preparations to the project. It was very clever casting. When we got together, the emotion generally happened quite organically. The pre-war scenes needed to have a sense of excitement about them because Roland, Victor and Edward were young and had their futures and dreams right ahead of them. We wanted to create that feeling onset, and James Kent was brilliant in injecting a true sense of fun, energy and excitement before those takes. We relished the pre-war scenes, knowing what was to come.
How was working with director James Kent, and how did you and James approach the tragedies that occur in the film
Colin Morgan: James is a very passionate and sensitive director, as well as a genuinely nice man. You could immediately tell that he had a real love and drive for this story. He wants the audience to feel how real these people were who inhabited Vera’s world. James has an incredible ability of making each moment as full and energized as possible.
James approached each scene with a specific theme in mind in order to correctly convey what the characters were feeling. It could be something as simple as being on the cusp of life, being in the glamour of war, or being in the horror of reality. Those are all very definite blocks within our story. As an actor, that is extremely valuable to know. With those themes in mind, I brought my own mark and preparation to the role.
In the film, it is extremely heartbreaking to see young, happy boys marching off to war in the film and then watch them come back incomplete. It did not occur to anyone that it would happen to them. Vera and her colleagues at the hospital didn’t fully know how to help them. They did what they thought was right under the circumstances. People were reading about the deaths in the papers and seeing the injuries in the streets. Everyone was engulfed by the tragedy. On set, we only got a glimpse of the war by being present in that atmosphere. It really moves you and terrifies you knowing that the characters actually experienced it in real life.
I thought Alicia Vikander was incredible as Vera. What was it like working with her, seeing her go on this journey with the character….?
Colin Morgan: Vera is a very challenging character to portray, and both Alicia and Vera are driven, determined, compassionate and positive. Many women would not have approached the war and gender inequality as Vera did. Alicia has been on an emotional rollercoaster and had a gruelling schedule throughout this film process but has remained positive throughout. She took this project on in the way Vera probably would.
It is incredible to see both Vera and Alicia transition into different stages of the story. There is a definite shift within everyone in the story, but particularly Vera because the audience is experiencing her story head on. At the beginning, she is excited for her future and her acceptance into Oxford. She has found the love of her life and is buzzing with excitement. When Roland heads to war, you see the heartbreak she endures. She is aware of what is happening in Europe and the impending circumstances. She has a sense of duty to sacrifice her ambitions and be a part of the war effort. Despite all the tragedy, she carries on. She comes out of the war completely changed, but no less driven. Vera’s message is one of resilience.
Has working on this project changed your perspective on war?
Colin Morgan: I didn’t know as much detail about the First World War as I do now. ‘Testament Of Youth’ is important because it approaches the war from a very human level. It is much more than just a blanket cover of boys going to war. We get intimate details of their lives through the first hand accounts available. Approaching the film from such a real perspective has been inspiring. I found the glamour of wanting to go to war relatable to the glamour of wanting to be an actor. It was a very exciting prospect for those boys. The idea that they would ever come back injured was an alien thought. It was fascinating that through all the letters, no one ever thought about being injured during war. The cold realities never occurred to them. Understanding the betrayal and shock that those men felt was eye opening for me. Going to war wasn’t just something that people told them they should do; it was something that they felt they should do. If they didn’t go to war, they felt guilty and shameful. Going to war was better than the shame of staying home.
This film is relevant to all generations, genders and ages. It has taught me so much about the war and the time period. It is important that we not forget what happened. The men and women in ‘Testament Of Youth’ can inspire us all. In today’s world, we don’t realize how easy we have it. These films help to put our lives into perspective.
What do you hope audiences take away from this film?
Colin Morgan: This story has universal appeal because it is more than a film about the First World War. It is a film about a young woman having to overcome unimaginable circumstances. We often think about the death and loss that occurred during the war, but rarely think about the entire lost generation and the personal traumas that they endured. Watching Vera battle the most extreme grieving processes brings hope and positivity. The audience will take such inspiration from Vera’s determination. She decided that the lost generation didn’t have to remain lost, and she never gave in. She came out fighting in the end.
Alexandra Roach, Alicia Vikander, Colin Morgan, Dominic West, emily watson, Hayley Atwell, Joanna Scanlan, Jonathan Bailey, Kit Harington, Taron Egerton, Testament Of Youth
This entry was posted by admin on October 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm, and is filed under Film, Interviews. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.
What an excellent interview with Colin. It shows how deeply he involves himself in his character and how well he prepares for each role. His observations are always a delight to read. Thanks so much. I cannot wait to see the film.
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