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The Young Victoria - Rupert Friend interview

Rupert Friend in The Young Victoria

Interview by Rob Carnevale

RUPERT Friend talks about working with French director Jean Marc Vallée on The Young Victoria, wearing a corset and slipping on a cowpat and falling into another during one of the more memorable – and hilarious – days of the shoot.

Q. What did French director Jean Marc Vallée bring to the material having not been someone who grew up with the same knowledge and appreciation of Queen Victoria that we may have?
Rupert Friend: I think having someone who isn’t ingrained with any kind of preconceptions about royalty and the monarchy is a very useful tool because it means he looked at Victoria and Albert as two young people; not as a potential kings and queens or stuffy period characters which would have become two dimensional.

I think he kept that very much to the fore… the idea that this was contemporary and real. The framework still has to be in place, and the restrictions on them still have to apply, but his degree of modernity was really useful when it came to looking at emotions because I think love is timeless.

Q. Can you share with us about your accident on-set, during the scene in the rain?
Rupert Friend: Well, there’s a scene in the film at the end of the honeymoon where, for whatever reason, they’re somewhat jubilant in the rain and Albert leads Victoria to dance in the rain with him. I had my hands in my coat and I slipped on a cow pat and fell into another cow pat. Emily was unable to continue working because she was laughing so hard, and she asked the crew to stop filming so that we could loop the scene on the monitor and all watch it 20 times in a row. It was really, really funny!

Q. Is it true that you also had to wear a corset?
Rupert Friend: Yes, it was a back fastening one. The thing is, if you go to Hyde Park and look at the statue of Albert we don’t have a lot in common physically and it’s something that I wanted to suggest that were we to show the following 20 years in their story, he could be moving towards something closer to that. For me, it was a way of saying goodbye to that early part of his life and moving into the next phase.

Q. What was it like to wear?
Rupert Friend: It was quite nice!

Read our review of The Young Victoria