From the Oscar-winning producing team of Martin Scorsese and Graham King (The Departed) comes the soaring drama The Young Victoriawhich chronicles Queen Victoria's ascension to the throne, focusing onthe early turbulent years of her reign and her legendary romance andmarriage to Prince Albert.
StarringEmily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, JimBroadbent and Mark Strong, The Young Victoria will be shownexclusively at Greenbelt 3 starting September 30.
For Academy Award-winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park)who wrote the screenplay, it was the early life of the young queen thatfascinated him. "Ninety nine percent of the public don't know anythingabout the story of her early life and will be surprised."
Thefilm is set in the period from 1836, the year before Victoria ascendedthe throne, to 1840 the year she married Prince Albert and sets out torevise the widely held picture of Queen Victoria as an elderly widowdressed in black. "The Queen Victoria everyone knows is the older Widowof Windsor with the handkerchief on her head, a rather fat woman inblack looking depressed. Very few people know about the other side ofher, her early life: that she was young, that she loved dancing, thatshe loved music and that she was very romantic. Some girls like to havefun and she was certainly one of them," explains Fellowes.
"But theextraordinary story at the beginning of her reign is how everyone triesto control her. I was convinced we should begin the film before hersuccession and her marriage to Albert. That way you can see herstruggle with her mother, the Duchess of Kent, who tried to devise arole for herself so she could get more control. The business of instantcelebrity is also interesting," Fellowes continues. "One minuteVictoria was living under virtual house arrest, the next she was themost famous woman in the world."
Theearly part of the film presents Victoria living in a virtual prison.Fellowes explains Victoria's early life. "Before her 63 year reignbegan, Victoria had a horrible childhood. Her father died before herfirst birthday, leaving her mother, the Duchess of Kent, to raise thesole heir to the throne. The Duchess can never have another child whois in line for the throne because her husband is dead. She's just gotthis one frail little squib who will be Queen if only she doesn't die.
This created in her a kind of neurotic protectionism, a smotheringchildhood where Victoria could not have her own room and had to sleepon a little cot next to her mother's bed until she was 18. She wasn'table to go up or down stairs without holding an adult hand. She hadalmost no friends. It was a terribly lonely childhood."
Atthe heart of the film is the love story of Victoria and Albert, who shemarried in 1840. This happy and fulfilled chapter is the focus of thefilm. "Prince Albert was purposefully chosen for Victoria over his lessattractive older brother, by his uncle King Leopold of Belgium,"explains Fellowes. "Leopold was using Albert to jostle for power andinfluence over the British throne and considered himideal for a woman who was determined to marry for love. What isinteresting is that Albert fell for her completely. He came from a verydour German court and suddenly he was with this girl who was out for agood time. She loved dancing, music, riding. Everyone had overlooked the possibility that they would fall in love with each other."
Whatappealed to producer Graham King about the story was the romance. "Itis a pure love story to me. It is a human story, a story that peoplecan relate to rather than just being a standard period film or filmabout royalty. I didn't want it to be a conventional period film, butsomething a bit hipper and a bit edgier."