at the moment I am dreaming of a film about ‘The Debutantes’.
the book Daisy has a dream and that is to become a film-director – to make
films for the new and exciting medium which was cinema in the 1920’s.
would love to do that.
am no good with my hands – I cannot draw, nor paint, but I think I would love
to make a film, to pick out the shots that would tell the story. And, above
all, the early nineteen-twenties, the time of silent films, was a time when the
picture did really tell the story.
I would have the lovely old house of Beech Grove Manor something like this:
the wonderful building, now starting to go to rack and ruin, hides the secrets
of past generations.
And then the owner of the house, the
doomed Michael Derrington, survivor of the Great War, shell-shocked, left
without his beloved wife who died, before a son could be born, two years before
the end of the war. He is The Earl of Derrington, but an earl with no money and
one who is now in the position of
knowing that Beech Grove Manor has to pass to a distant relation and that
his daughters will have to be left without proper dowries – well, I would love
to have Jeremy Irons in that role.
think that Jeremy Irons could do this part very well and that the sudden fits
of rage and of depression that are the legacy of his experiences in The Great
War would come very naturally to him.
Earl’s wife’s aunt Great-Aunt Lizzie, lives with him, and looks after his four
girls. I think I would rather like Eileen Atkins for that role (though I am
tempted by Maggie Smith):
girls, the four daughters of the Earl of Derrington are the main characters in
the book. They are on the verge of adult life and already rebelling against the
old-fashioned Victorian notion that they will have no say in their future –
that their only salvation is to marry well. Violet wants to be a film star;
Daisy a film director; Poppy a famous jazz musician and Rose a writer –
journalist and then a novelist.
could act the part of Violet? Violet is the beauty of the family, the girl who
wanted to live in luxury, but knew that her face would have to be her fortune.
about Claire Foy? She has the glamour and the slightly 1920s look about her
mouth. And she has the beautiful blue eyes that are the main feature of Violet
in my book.
And then there is Poppy. Poppy the gifted musician,
the strange girl, devastated by her mother’s death, whose refuge is music and
the companionship of the ‘jazz band’ – the choice of a star to act her part is
a difficult one, but I do think that Lucy Boynton could do it. She has the
looks and a certain spirituality that seems to suggest a talented artist.
Daisy, Poppy’s twin; dear Daisy, always concerned for the family, trying to do
her best to achieve her own dream of being a film producer, but also of
achieving the potential which is within each one of her sisters. Sensitive,
practical, slightly insecure, Daisy needs a special actress and I thought of
Holliday Grainger. I love her mouth and her eyes are just perfect for Daisy:
And last of all the sisters comes
Rose. Rose is only fourteen years old, but already there are signs of genius.
She writes continuously, wants to be a novelist, but at the moment shows her
greatest talents in her clever title boards for Daisy’s films and in her clever
and witty newspaper headline-type comments on the world around her. She will be
a difficult part as she is clever, yet young; she will have to comment on what
is going on with her sisters’ lives
yet still appear to be a normal fourteen-year-old. Rose is dark-haired and Elle
Fanning is blonde, but there is something about the eyes and about the tilt of
the chin which makes me feel that she could do this witty and clever part.
have I chosen well, or badly? What do you think? Over to you to play your part
in this fantasy film-making. I would love to hear your views.