AN IDEAL HUSBAND
About The Production
When asked why they thought Oscar Wilde's play An Ideal Husband was a candidate for screen adaptation, the filmmakers all agreed: it seemed to have been written yesterday
When asked why they thought Oscar Wilde's
play An Ideal Husband was a candidate for screen adaptation,
the filmmakers all agreed: it seemed to have been written yesterday.
"I thought it had terrific contemporary connections"
says Director Oliver Parker. Producer Uri Fruchtmann recognized
that the piece has an agelessness which would make it pertinent
to the modern viewer despite the fact that it was written over
100 years ago: "I think all good plays are relevant because
all good plays are about people. Fundamentally, people have not
"The issues that Wilde addresses like moral repression and
political scandal are quite contemporary" observes Rupert
Everett (Lord Arthur Goring). Highly familiar with the works of
Oscar Wilde, Everett also feels that Wilde himself is a character
who has never gone out of fashion and who holds a certain enduring
fascination for modern audiences. "He's a very contemporary
character. I think he never had the glory he deserved as a social
figure so as we come to the end of this millennium, a hundred
years after he died, it's interesting to think of him and how
much and how little things have changed."
Minnie Driver (Mabel Chiltern), another great Wilde fan, was struck
by the fact that he writes so lucidly despite the confounding
prejudices which he was himself up against at the time. "The
tolerance in his work is extraordinary and his compassion is quite
remarkable. At a time when you think someone would just be so
angry at the way they were being treated, he comes out with this
wonderful theme: we are none of us perfect. There is grace, beauty
and love in imperfection. This is, I think, one of the gentlest
and loveliest things Wilde could have said about the world. Especially
at the time when he was being mercilessly persecuted."
Julianne Moore (Mrs Cheveley) was similarly struck by the clarity
of Wilde's vision, and its relevance to every age and society:
"Nobody's completely black and white. There are many variations
and that's indeed the point of the play; that there is not one
true morality and that that kind of good and evil doesn't and
cannot exist in our world."
Oliver Parker's AN IDEAL HUSBAND
All the filmmakers were thrilled with the script from the very
first draft. Producer Barnaby Thompson observed: "What he's
done really well is that he's kept the Wildean world but at the
same time given it a firmer emotional base. He's given all the
characters a real emotional journey." Producer Uri Fruchtmann
agreed that in some respects Oliver had strengthened the story:
"It may be blasphemous, but I believe that in many ways Olly's
adaptation is better structured than the original play.. The play
feels at times like a vehicle primarily for all these wonderful
quotes and wonderful dialogue. Olly strengthened the characters
and the relationships between the characters. He focused it."
Cate Blanchett (Lady Gertrude Chiltern) agrees: "It's sacrilege,
but I prefer it to the stage play. To my mind, Oliver solved the
problems of the plot resolution a lot more satisfactorily. He
weaves the melancholy with the comedy. To his credit, he's found
the balance between the heightened wit of Wilde and naturalism;
he's found the midway point."
Minnie Driver (Mabel Chiltern) was struck by the way Oliver managed
to open up the context of the play to give it as much of a contemporary
feel as possible: &
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