"With all the information and technology we've got, why is there a sense in a lot of lives of something missing? I find that a deeply interesting to write about."
The house we used had never been filmed in. It had been a private mansion, but when we found it, it was being used for offices. And the mosaic floor you see in the films had been covered with this horrible old carpet. We pulled up the carpet, and this beautiful mosaic tiling was revealed. According to a local historian, nobody had seen it for fifty years, that floor. So that was quite dramatic and exciting.
In your work in film and the theater, is there a recurring idea that you're exploring?
Well, I think I'm very interested in the recent past. And not just my youth, but before I was born; both my parents were quite old when they had children. And even though I was born well after the Second World War, through their memories I feel like most of the twentieth century is available to me, and that has given me great interest in the past. I've always been terribly interested in how the past interplays with the present.
I've just made a movie called 'Glorious 39,' which is about the Second World War and how many people in Britain, the powerful and the aristocratic, were trying to do a deal with Hitler, and didn't want to stand up to him, didn't want to fight the Second World War, which is true. It was only by a hair breath that Britain did stand up to Hitler. So, I'm very interested in what might have happened, as well as what actually did happen and how that impacts on how we feel now.
It's true that we do see a sense of emptiness and loss in modern life. Why aren't people happier when they're wealthier than they've ever been, despite the economic crisis going on in the world now? With all the information and technology we've got, why is there a sense in a lot of lives of something missing? I find that a deeply interesting thing to write about.