“I had always loved the book, it’s kind of a national treasure,” declares Emily Mortimer, director of the three-part limited series “The Pursuit of Love” on Amazon Prime. “I read it first in my late teens and I remembered loving it. When I was approached and asked to adapt it, I knew I wanted to read it again. But a little bit of me was thinking, ‘Does the world really need another costume drama in a big house in the English countryside?’ I re-read it and I was so excited by the novel. It felt incredibly fresh and relevant.” We talked to Mortimer as part of our “Meet the Experts” TV directors panel. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
“The Pursuit of Love” is adapted from a novel of the same name by Nancy Mitford. It’s centered on two cousins navigating their lives and friendship, as they seek different things in life. Linda Radlett is played by Lily James and Fanny Logan is played by Emily Beecham. The series was nominated for three BAFTA Awards earlier this year.
“I knew that if I was to make this on television, I was certain that the experience of watching it had to be as exciting and delicious as the experience of reading the book,” Mortimer explains. “I had never directed anything before and suddenly I was directing three hours of television. It was all so new, but I had been on enough sets in my life as an actor, and seen enough people doing it, and knew what I loved. I was very sure I wanted to combine a formality and rigidity and sort of storybook quality.”
She continues, “It was always raining. Add in millions of horses and children and dogs and actors. Some of them had never been on a horse before. They’re pretending to be hunting and then it’s pissing with rain. It was chaos. But I think we were just all so happy to be there and there was an energy that imbued the entire experience because most everybody there had not expected to be working. Everybody from the biggest star to the musicians and dancers had been just sitting in their homes for months up until we started shooting. It just felt so great to be in each others’ company and to be working. I’ve never felt more lucky to be working and I think everybody felt that way.”
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