“Patrick Melrose” is hoping for a strong showing in the movie/miniseries categories at the Emmys this year. Based on a series of novels by Edward St. Aubyn, it follows the life journey of the title character (Benedict Cumberbatch), who was abused as a child, struggles with addiction as an adult, and looks for redemption. Gold Derby recently spoke with director Edward Berger, writer David Nicholls, and composer Volker Bertelmann about their work on the critically acclaimed limited series. Scroll down and click on their names below to be taken to their complete video interviews.
“It was always my dream adaptation,” says Nicholls. But even though he’s had experience adapting classic literary material for the screen — “Great Expectations” (2012), “Far from the Madding Crowd” (2015) — he found the five “Melrose” novels to be an even more daunting challenge. Authors like Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy are actually “much easier to adapt,” Nicholls explains. “They have these little narrative high-points, these climaxes, these cliffhangers, that come at very regular, serialized intervals.” St. Aubyn’s books, on the other hand, “are much more internal.” Because the books “are not plot- or story-led” Nicholls had to find a way to “put a mental, emotional journey into action and words.”
Berger wanted each episode to be visually unique because Nicholls’s scripts “all feel different.” The first episode, which follows Patrick during a drug trip, “feels very subjective,” so “I wanted to shoot it that way, be always behind him, in the face, basically show everything through Patrick Melrose.” The second episode, on the other hand, examines Patrick’s childhood with his abusive parents (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Hugo Weaving). That script “felt very objective. We step back in time and perspective,” so Berger “stepped back with the camera” in order to “observe everything.”
Click on any name below to be taken to their full interviews:
Edward Berger, director
David Nicholls, writer
Volker Bertelmann, composer
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