Director Michael Winterbottom has said he doesn’t think Boris Johnson will be “flattering” by his role in his new series, This England, but hopes he will.
His five-part show sees Sir Kenneth Branagh play the former prime minister as he grapples with the onset of Covid-19 amid Brexit and the upheavals in his personal and political life.
Winterbottom created this program using direct evidence from people inside Number 10, the Department of Health, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), and hospitals and care homes. across the country.
Asked if he thought the former prime minister liked the way he was portrayed, Winterbottom told the PA news agency: “I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know if he watched it or not.
“I hope that he is happy to hear that Kenneth Branagh will be playing him because of all the people who can play Boris, he is a great actor and I hope Boris will be pleased to play the part. he.
“About how we portrayed him? I mean, I don’t think he’s going to be flattered, but I hope he’ll watch it and see it’s definitely not an attack on him. It is not an attack. “
Winterbottom said he wanted to avoid the “caricature” of Johnson as many have sought to do on TV.
“It was quite a challenge,” he said. I think Ken did a great job. I think with Boris, I guess, like any public figure, they have a public personality. But Boris, more than most public figures, feels rather larger-than-life and quite visually defined.
“And also in terms of performance, that makes it hard to reproduce without feeling that you’re making an impression. And I think Ken did a great job, but obviously Ken put a lot of effort into the image with the prostheses to look like Boris.
“I also know he read a lot of Boris’ writing to try and understand how Boris saw himself in the world, then studied voice and movement etc.
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“I think one of the great things about having Ken do that is because he’s such a great actor, he gives us weight and seriousness… And I think what we want to avoid is this. caricature Boris or turn it into a joke or satire.
“Obviously a lot of people have a very funny impression of Boris, but we wanted to try to take that away and try to root him out a little bit more and make him a little bit more complicated than the rest of us. or disparage him.”
Winterbottom, whose other films include 24 Hours Party People and Welcome To Sarajevo, also suggested that his and Sir Kenneth’s take on the PM might not please everyone.
He said: “If you had a hostile opinion towards Boris, you would probably think the series was too light on him. And if you love Boris, you’ll probably think the series is too hard for (him).
“And I think that’s true of everything – depending on your point of view, you can see it differently.”
He airs on Sky Atlantic on Wednesday, September 28.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/johnson-may-not-be-flattered-by-his-portrayal-in-this-england-says-director-42005564.html Johnson may not be satisfied with his role in This England, director says