As part of Diet Coke's partnership with Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, we got the chance to speak to two of the film's biggest stars, Jennifer Saunders (Eddy) and Joanna Lumley (Patsy) about adapting the much-loved TV series for the big screen, and seeing their faces on limited edition Ab Fab Diet Coke alu-bottles!
Watch the interview or read below to find about their first day on set, working with supermodel Kate Moss and what their idea of the perfect Diet Coke break looks like.
1. What was the first day of filming like?
Jennifer: Well I found the first day of filming quite nerve-racking because I'd woken up in the night and I thought oh no, we're making a film, oh no, what's happened, what's happened, it's all gone too far, it was just a joke. And then went back to sleep and woke up quite happy in the morning.
Joanna: I realised that the first day of filming involved squashing into the smallest vehicle known to man which was called an Ape in Italian, with fish in the back of it, and Jennifer wearing an enormous hat, so we spent the first day like this trying to drive.
Jennifer: It's true! There wasn't even any dialogue, we were just bumped around.
Joanna: It was lovely actually because, you know, the second you’ve got your wig on and I've had my hair done, we’re back in character, and it was so exciting. And it's always exciting the first day because you know you've got the whole film stretching out ahead of you.
2. How is creating a movie different?
Jennifer: It's different in the way you have to write it because you have to keep the plot going and it's true in a movie that you can't sit and relax for too long because people think what's happening now? You've got to keep people thinking what's happening next, what is going to happen to them ...
Joanna: You always loved the pink panther films, you loved this idea of a chase. It also gave the excuse of taking us to the south of France.
Jennifer: South of France was the first idea we had wasn't it.
Joanna: Yep, get us to the south of France.
Jennifer: Wanna go to the south of France.
3. What was it like being reunited with the cast?
Jennifer: It's honestly like you've never been away when you get together because it's like being in a family and you know in a family you didn’t have to explain too much, it's not like you have to do big catch ups or it's very formal.
Joanna: And we’ve quite often known about each other's work, so we've seen somebody's films or whatever's been going on. But on the very first day we all get together which is usually at a read through, and we just stand there going oh my god.
Jennifer: Where are you living now, what's happening, how's your dog, how's your cat, how are your children!
Joanna: And the thing about Julia Sawalha, who plays little dowdy Saffy with her little scrubbed plain face and her little owly glasses is she's ravishingly good looking and lives a very shonky life, she literally goes for it doesn't she. So she always comes in looking unbelievable and you know that she's going to have to take it off and be little Saffy again.
4. Who did you least expect to join the cast?
Jennifer: Orla Guerin, the foreign correspondent. Honestly, because you imagine showbiz people or actors, you've got a chance, but I honestly thought because she's one of my big heroines. She gets to all these war zones, she does the most difficult stories abroad and so I was so impressed when she said yes because she was the one I most expected to go I'm sorry, I'm a serious person.
Joanna: She literally flew in from Egypt and came straight from the airport to the embankment where she did the bit about Kate Moss missing and presumed dead in the Thames, and she'd learnt it on the plane.
Jennifer: I was really star struck, it's bizarre.
5. What’s your idea of the perfect Diet Coke break?
Jennifer: Do you know I drink Diet Coke most of the time
Joanna: You’re drinking it as you speak aren’t you.
Jennifer: It is true, I’m just Diet Coke. I go and I buy Diet Coke all the time and sometimes I pile ice all over the can if it’s too warm, and then you get it when it’s really cold and it snaps and it’s gorgeous.
Joanna: I like to drink a Diet Coke when it’s quite warm, well outside warm, and the Diet Coke’s nice and cold, with a crossword puzzle when you’ve stolen five minutes from the day and you go I can be on my own! I can just sit here with a pencil and my crossword puzzle and Diet Coke.
Jennifer: This is the perfect size for you this Diet Coke isn’t it?
Joanna: Isn’t it, it’s not too much. It’s just perfect. And it’s very beautiful.
Jennifer: I think it’s rather chic.
Joanna: And when you’ve finished it you’ve got that gorgeous thing and you can put a few flowers from the garden in it.
Jennifer: We’re very proud actually, we’re very proud. Yes, I’m on a Diet Coke can.
6. Who are your style icons?
Jennifer: Well Kate Moss to be honest. Honestly I think she’s most people’s style icon because she always looks like she hasn’t had to try and she can be in Glastonbury or she can be on the cover of Vogue. And she’s still got the same air of like she didn’t really have to try for that.
Joanna: I tell you what really impressed me about her, it’s kind of a new look - but Kate was doing it in the film - is that you don’t really bother about your hair. And in films usually that’s a huge thing, is your hair going to be alright. Kate’s hair just seemed to be like hair she’d just got out of bed with and it looked fine. And I immediately wanted my hair to be like Kate’s hair. A bit of her roots growing through and just got out of bed. And it looked a million dollars.
Jennifer: I wanted my legs to be like her legs.
Joanna: I wanted my face to be like her face. I wanted my clothes. I wanted my size to be her size.
Jennifer: I know.
7. What’s the key to a successful friendship?
Jennifer: Well to theirs it’s probably lying to each other.
Joanna: Yes, not criticising, just saying you look fabulous.
Jennifer: And support.
8. What’s your funniest memory from the movie?
Joanna: Ooh gosh. Actually Dame Edna turning round in the pool. I couldn’t believe she’d do that
Jennifer: I couldn’t believe she’d do it.
Joanna: Dame Edna actually stopped being Dame Edna. And suddenly she appeared. She said to Jennifer I think, because she noticed Joan Collins was in in it.
Jennifer: I think she got very jealous of the idea that Joan Collins was in it, because Barry had been in it and I think he’d mentioned to Dame Edna that he was going to be there in the South of France with Joan Collins, which sent her into a rage of jealousy.
Joanna: So suddenly in the swimming pool at Grand Hotel du Cap in the south of France.
Jennifer: Suddenly she appeared.
Joanna: In all full regalia and walked into the swimming pool.
Jennifer: To try and steal the scene from Joan Collins.
Joanna: Almost succeeded.
9. Have you kept any outfits or props?
Jennifer: Props, I have kept props.
Joanna: What did you keep?
Jennifer: You know when I throw the Buddha onto the floor. She throws the blue Buddha onto the floor and the head always fell off and I had to do it a few times so I’ve kept a couple of the little blue heads.
Joanna: That’s because you felt guilty isn’t it?
Jennifer: I did! I think it is actually I felt a bit guilty.
Joanna: Did I remember to take anything from the set?
Jennifer: I think you took most of the set.
Joanna: Did I take quite a lot of it? I fact I can’t remember what I didn’t take.
Jennifer: Very little left. “Are you going to want those flowers? No. I’ll pop them in my car. Are you going to want that lovely fruit, no, and the bowl, no, and the chair, no. Put them in my car then.”
10. Do you have a favourite line or scene?
Jennifer: Do you know my favourite line. Actually my favourite scene is when Charlie and Patsy and, its Barry Humphries and Joanna, are in the club, and there’s something rather touching too, about her going “do you remember, do you remember the old days” like this and then he goes “do you know what I miss, is ______.”
Joanna: Knowing that Barry Humphries was going to say that with his dreadful white teeth, and I had to stand in front of him, I had to practically not look, it made me laugh so much.
11. Do any of the characters wear Lacroix?
Jennifer: No because unfortunately Mr Lacroix no longer does new collections. Do you know I did have some vintage Lacroix earrings and I wear my Lacroix pendant. I wear as much as is left and I can still fit into.
12. Will there be a sequel?
Jennifer: Well if people flock to see this film. Flock in their flocks to see this film, then I think there might be demand for a sequel, in which case there might be a sequel. But it depends on the flocking.
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