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Why we almost revisited Bride shead ..in Scotland series hung over.

Byline: By JOHN MILLAR

THE TV drama Brideshead Revisited is as famous for its beautiful Yorkshire scenery as for the sexual chemistry between Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte.

But today we can reveal the new big-screen version of Evelyn Waugh's classic tale was almost set in Scotland.

The film-makers were initially worried about being compared with the TV series if they shot themovie in Yorkshire's Castle Howard.

So they considered basing their Brideshead Castle north of the border at Hopetoun House.

Scots producer Douglas Rae, whose previous hits include Mrs Brown and Becoming Jane, said: "We wanted to took at alternatives so we looked at a lovely house outside of Edinburgh, just underneath the Forth Bridge.

"We also compiled lots of photos of other Scottish houses and some in Ireland.

"They were beautiful but we all said they were not Castle Howard so they were not Brideshead. After looking at 20 or 30 houses, we were welcomed back to Castle Howard."

The tale of doomed romance and lost innocence combines the talents of rising young stars and household names.

It focuses on the story of how the wide-eyed, middle-class Charles Ryder falls in love with Sebastian and Julia Flyte, the children of the rich Marchmain family, who invite him to their imposing ancestral home, Brideshead Castle.

Matthew Goode, who was in Woody Allen's Match Point, plays social-climbing Charles and Ben Whishaw, who starred in Perfume, is decadent aristocrat Sebastian.

Hayley Atwell, seen opposite Keira Knightley in new movie The Duchess, plays his sister Julia.

Among the more famous faces are Oscar winner Emma Thompson as the religious fanatic head of the household Lady Marchmain and Michael Gambon, of Harry Potter fame, is her errant husband, Lord Marchmain.

Edinburgh-born Rae, who first achieved fame as a presenter on hit kids' TV show Magpie, is delighted the big-screen Brideshead has finally been made - after nearly 60 years.

It originally looked as if fans of the novel would have to be satisfied with fond memories of the Bafta-winning TV series, starring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews, broadcast 27 years ago.

Rae said: "This is the first film version of Brideshead made.

"After Evelyn Waugh wrote the book, he was persuaded by Hollywood in 1950 to get a film off the ground and novelist Graham Greene had a try.

But Waugh wasn't impressed and they couldn't raise money."

Rae was very aware that the film had to try to satisfy fans of the novel and the TV series.

He added: "I remember watching the series when it was first broadcast.

I was living in Edinburgh and there was nobody on the streets - 15 million people watched.

"We made the film because we felt we had a different kind of a take on the story. We wanted, in two and a half hours, to tell a love story between four people - Charles, Sebastian, Julia and God.

Inevitably, it destroyed them."

The film tells how the faith of the devout Roman Catholic Marchmains comes between the love of Julia and Charles.

It was inevitable the legacy of the TV series hung over the movie and director Julian Jarrold was uncertain about taking the helm at first.

He said: "I had to have my arm twisted as I had this image of Brideshead Revisited as not being relevant in the modern world.

"But when I went back to the book and read the script, I realised how many interesting things were still relevant.

"The basic story of a young man who comes from the poorer back ground into this magnificent world is such an interesting one. He meets fabulous characters and finds out that underneath a all is not so calm.

"Themore I worked on the story, the more fascinated I became and it did seem to be crying out for cinematic treatment."

Newcomer At well says just being in Castle Howard helped her to create the air of someone who belonged to the aristocracy.

She said: "It wasn't until I set eyes on Castle Howard that I had any concept of just how affluent the Flyte family must have been."

Goode, who follows in the footsteps of Jeremy Irons as Charles, jokes the only time he felt aristocratic was when the camera wasn't turning.

He said: "I felt like the master of the house in the Howard family's quarters watching Wimbledon with champagne between takes."

But the cast and crew had to contend with bad weather - when a lot of the scenes had to be sunny.

Jarrold said: "When it rained we came inside but the moment the sun came out we would dash outside and try to catch good light."

Brideshead Revisited is out on October 3.

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MAILFILE

THE hit TV drama was a springboard to success for Jeremy Irons. He starred in The French Lieutenant's Woman, Dead Ringers and Die Hard With A Vengeance.

He was the voice of Scar in Disney's The Lion King and won an Emmy and Golden Globe for his role in mini-series Elizabeth I.

Since Anthony Andrews won an Emmy for Brideshead, he has appeared in many TV series, made a Golden Globe-nominated foreign film, set up a movie production company and starred in several plays.

CAPTION(S):

Rich pickings: Jarrold and Rae; Doomed love: Charles, Sebastian and Julia get closer in a scene from the new movie; Early Hopes: Hopetoun House was one of the first considerations for Brideshead Castle in the new film; Winning choice: Castle Howard in Yorkshire - set of the TV series - was the film-makers' favourite location; New stars: Ben Whishaw and Matthew Goode; Old roles: Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews; Success: Irons; Emmy: Andrews
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 14, 2008
Words:946
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