The Lady In The Van is the true story of Miss Shepherd (Maggie Smith), a woman who lived in a van for 15 years outside the London domicile of writer Alan Bennett (The Madness of King George, The History Boys). Bennett would publish a memoir of those years and would eventually turn his account into The Lady In the Van stage play (which featured Smith in the role).
Cut to nearly 15 years later, and director Nicolas Hytner and Bennett teamed up to turn the play into a feature film, with celebrated theater actor Alex Jennings, who previously played Bennett in Hymn & Cocktail Sticks (Untold Stories), on board as the scribe.
“I’d played Alan before on stage and have known him for a long time so he was sort of in my head and heart” says Jennings. “It’s odd playing someone you know quite well and a bit odd for him as well. He said he had the odd, spooky moment because we filmed it at the actual house where it all happened. He would be outside on the street and he’d see me, dressed as him, sit at a desk or walk past the window. But he’s written the piece, so someone’s got to be playing (him)!”
In the clip below, Alex Jennings talks about how The Lady In The Van keeps the memory of the unsentimental and often unsparing Miss Shepherd alive (He also mentions Maggie Smith and the Bodleian Libary in audio piece).
The Lady In The Van will have a one week awards qualifying run starting December 4 and it will open in New York and Los Angeles January 15.
Posted By: Greg Srisavasdi