|Adrian Hodges is a
British writer and producer who works in film, television
and the theatre.
You've written a number of screenplays
for historical dramas, for example, Rome, why
do you think there is so much demand for historical
drama and film?
Well, film and TV is always about good stories.
I know that seems a fairly obvious thing to say,
but the thing about history is it's jam-packed
full with good stories, many of which people know,
part, or at least vaguely know. If you say, 'I'm
going to do a film about Robin Hood', you know
that part of your audience at the very least will
already have some knowledge of that story and
they will think, 'Oh yeah, I quite like that story,
so maybe there's something in there that, for
me in that film.' And there are many other examples,
Rome is a, you know, is a canvas full of stories
that have, you know, lasted for 2,000 years. So,
you know, many people have vaguely heard about
Julius Caesar, some of them know that story very
very well, and so on and so on, or Caligula or
whoever. So history is just an endlessly useful
way of telling great stories from the past in
a way that means something in the present. In
a perfect world, you get a double hit, you, you
tell a classic story, but you also tell it in
a way that makes it resonate with the present.
|Are historical films
necessarily any more expensive than films set in
the modern day?
Yeah, period is always more expensive. It's just
something about the fact that you have to dress
the film in a way that you don't have to dress a
contemporary film. By 'dress' I mean, not just dress
people who have to wear costumes that are authentic
to the period. If your film is set in 1800, they
all have to look as though they were, you know,
dressed exactly as in that period. That all costs
money. But 'dressed' also in terms of the way you
make the houses look, the way you make all your
decorations look, your furniture, everything has
to be authentic to the period. You have to make
sure there are no cars, no aeroplanes, every shot
has to be weighed up to make sure that there's nothing
in it which, which betrays the period. There's nothing
more ridiculous than a period film where you see
a glaring anachronism, some detail that's horrible
wrong. So unfortunately, all of that costs money
and you have to have bigger crowds in many cases.
Rome was a case in point. We needed big crowds.
In the Senate you have to have, a certain number
of Senators, all of them have to be dressed in,
you know, in togas and so on. So I'm afraid it is
just an expensive way of making films, yeah.