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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.
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