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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 changed."

"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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