THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
Exotic Marigold Hotel
Their adventures began in the mind of British novelist Deborah Moggach, who
group of cash-strapped pensioners who find themselves "outsourced" to India,
each willing (or forced)
to try relocating to an exotic locale at a fraction of the usual retirement
price. The book won praise for
its characters that, at an age when most people are slowing down and staying
close to home, embark
on the journey of a lifetime.
Producers Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin saw the potential for an unusual
film experience. "We loved her concept of outsourcing retirement, taking our
outsourcing of everyday
tasks like banking and customer service one step further," says Broadbent.
"Deborah had pondered
where she would like to end up in her golden years, and decided living above an
Indian bazaar would
be endlessly fascinating. The wonderful part is that just when her characters
could be entering a greyer
period of their lives, a whole new chapter opens up, with a literal explosion of
color and brightness,
and an opportunity to reinvent themselves."
Screenwriter Ol Parker took that scenario and ran with it. "I saw an opportunity
to create a
romantic comedy for a different generation, centered on people in their 60s and
70s," says Parker, who
last wrote and directed the twenty-something romantic comedy IMAGINE ME & YOU.
so appealing to me is that as we get older, we tend to not stray out of our
comfort zones, I loved the
idea of taking this group of people and putting them somewhere where they are
completely out of their
element. I also enjoyed the idea of a love story about men and women who have
had a whole lifetime
To direct the film, Broadbent and Czernin approached John Madden, one of
lauded, cinematic storytellers, whose films include the Best Picture OscarĀ®
IN LOVE and the recent thriller THE DEBT. Madden found the premise irresistible:
seven people -
stranded for different reasons at the point in their lives where opportunities
have disappeared -
dropped into a strange, intoxicating and threatening new world. It offered the
comedy of displacement
alongside the melancholy of loss - and the tribulations and joys of trying to
grow older with grace and
"The script is funny and rich, and it's not just a comedy," notes Madden. "It
also deals with
bereavement, loneliness and isolation, and confronts the question of what is
really possible as you get
older. Can you still start over again? Is it ever too late to change?"
The answer for those at the Marigold Hotel might seem uncertain, but it becomes
"No" for most of the characters, although in very individual and unique ways.
Madden was excited from the start to pull together an ensemble cast who could
bring each of
these journeys alive in vivid and human ways. "A lot of my work has been with
ensembles, and I'm
interested by stories of people in suspension, where different rules apply,
where only the present tense
matters." he says. "In SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, the characters were suspended in the
universe of the theatre, and of the play; in THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL the
are in an analogous kind of geographical suspension. They've entered a strange
world removed from
their former reality, cut off from their past, where they have to invent a new
life for themselves."
The fact that the characters are in the latter part of life turned out to be a
"Since the characters are all of a certain age, it was a chance to cast actors
who are at the peak of their
abilities," explains Madden. "They were the most extraordinary resource and they
brought the story
alive. The sheer level of comic talent, acting skill and depth of experience was
staggering. The only
thing we had to do was bring them together with an equally skilled ensemble of
Indian actors, and then
watch them collide with this magnificent country."
"In this story, definitions of age and maturity completely fall away," sums up
"because the characters are made young again by the situations they find
themselves in. Challenged
and overwhelmed by the experience of modern India, caught in different forms of
realignment - friendships, liaisons, rivalries - as well as in unfinished
business that sparks in comic
eruptions - they find that ultimately the only thing that matters is what is
happening right then and
there, between them."
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