First look: Adapted from Noël Coward’s beloved comedy of the same name, this looks to be Judi Dench’s funniest film in years..
View the trailer here.
Blithe Spirit, adapted from the Noël Coward play is about a wacky medium Madame Arcati (Dench) who brings back a writer’s unwanted ex-wife from the dead.
Starring Dan Stevens as Charles, a pompous crime novelist with writer’s block, and Isla Fisher as Ruth, his glamorous wife desperate to ascend Hollywood, Blithe Spirit, set in 1937, follows the catastrophic twists and turns that follow a home séance with Madame Arcati aimed at inspiring Charles to write his first ever screenplay.
But Arcati accidentally summons the spirit of his deceased first wife Elvira (Leslie Mann), who immediately connives to boot out her successor. Her strategy? To kill Charles so that he can join her in the after-life forever. To make matters worse, Elvira remains invisible to Ruth, who fears her husband has gone completely round the twist.
Directed by former artistic director of Hampstead Theatre Edward Hall, the new adaptation comes 79 years after Coward’s play hit the West End and Broadway, becoming a huge hit. In 1945, Blithe Spirit was then turned into a film directed by David Lean and starring Rex Harrison and Margaret Rutherford.
While filming last year, Hall, for whom Blithe Spirit is his film directorial debut, said: “I feel that the time is right to tell that story again to a broad audience because we’re in quite a dark space at the moment.” The film will be released in May this year, on the 75th anniversary of the original.
Hall’s late father Sir Peter Hall had previously worked with Dench on Antony and Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and another Coward classic Hay Fever. Edward Hall spoke of Dench’s affection for Blithe Spirit’s vigour and fun: “She loves the story, the character and Coward. Like us, she feels it is a great moment to cheer people up. I said to her, ‘When you come out of the cinema, you should feel like you’ve drunk a glass of cold champagne a little too quickly’.”
“I always felt there was only one person in the world who could ever play [Madame Arcati] and that was Judi. Fortunately, she felt the same.”
Source: Telegraph.co.uk 26th February 2020