Behind-the-Scenes Featurette for Director Roger Michell's 'The Duke'
"This is the ONLY time in its history that anyone has stolen anything from the National Gallery." What a story to tell! Sony Pictures Classics has released a brief behind-the-scenes featurette for the British crime comedy film The Duke, which originally premiered in 2020 at the Venice Film Festival that fall. In between that premiere and with all the pandemic delays, the film's director Roger Michell passed away (in late 2021) and this is now his final film. It's finally opening in the US this month, with a nationwide expansion in May. In 1961, Kempton Bunton, a 60 year old taxi driver, steals Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. This is the story of how, why, and who he was. It turns out he was just a bumbling British guy who didn't like being forced to pay for the BBC and wanted to come up with a scheme to make them change. Jim Broadbent stars as Kempton, with Helen Mirren, Matthew Goode, Charlotte Spencer, Fionn Whitehead, and John Heffernan. It is a delightful film, and this featurette captures that charm perfectly. I hope some folks will still go out and see this when it opens in theaters soon.
Here's the new behind-the-scenes featurette for Roger Michell's The Duke, direct from SPC's YouTube:
The Duke is the true story of Kempton Bunton, a 60-year old taxi driver, who stole Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. It was the first (and remains the only) theft in the Gallery's history. Kempton sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government invested more in care for the elderly - he had long campaigned for pensioners to receive free television. What happened next became the stuff of legend. Only 50 years later did the full story emerge - Kempton had spun a web of lies. The only truth was that he was a good man, determined to change the world and save his marriage - how and why he used the Duke to achieve that is a wonderfully uplifting tale. The Duke is directed by acclaimed British filmmaker Roger Michell, director of many other films including Persuasion, My Night with Reg, Titanic Town, Notting Hill, Changing Lanes, The Mother, Enduring Love, Venus, Morning Glory, Hyde Park on Hudson, Le Week-end, My Cousin Rachel, and last year's Blackbird previously. The screenplay is written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman. It's produced by Nicky Bentham. This initially premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Festival a few years ago. After delays, Sony Classics finally opens The Duke in select US theaters (NY & LA) on April 22nd, 2022, nationwide in May.