A Royal Night Out for two princess after VE Day
TWO princesses get a taste of how the other half lives in A Royal Night Out.
The new historical drama from the director of Kinky Boots and Becoming Jane imagines what British princesses Elizabeth and Margaret got up to on VE Night in London on May 8, 1945.
As the city celebrated the end of the Second World War in Europe, the sisters were allowed to slip out for one night to party among the people.
"This film isn't a biopic but it is historical and it's kind of a comedy and sort of a drama as well. It was nice to do something that was lots of different things at one time," Bel Powley said.
"I got to hook up my dress and splash around in Trafalgar Square Fountains which, can I say as a Londoner, no one else ever gets to do because the police will immediately pull you out. It might be my proudest moment of the film."
Rising star Powley is a scene-stealer as Princess Margaret, or P2, who is keen to get in a bit of mischief.
Sarah Gadon plays the future queen Elizabeth, who must chase after her younger sister.
She enlists the help of Royal Air Force pilot Jack (Jack Reynor) to navigate the raucous city streets.
"It's a comedic adventure story about an odd couple really," director Julian Jarrold said.
"Jack, a working class guy, and Elizabeth, a princess, are thrown together by chance and have to make their way through London on this crazy unbelievable, extraordinary night, and they both have secrets."
Star Sarah Gadon likens the light-hearted film to a historical romantic comedy.
"It has all the elements of a great historical fiction film but it has the energy and fantasy and the love of a romantic comedy and I think it fuses those two things together really well," she said.
"An interesting way to tell the story and explore this time in Elizabeth and Margaret's life is to place it in this adventure, love story."
The night's events are set in some of London's most iconic locations, from The Ritz Carlton to Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.
Filming in Trafalgar Square had special personal significance for Canadian beauty Gadon.
"When we were in Trafalgar Square shooting it was a real kind of movie moment of 'Oh my God I can't believe I'm in Trafalgar Square shooting a film about VE Day and VE Night'," Gadon said.
"It kind of hit me as this amazing thing. It was really special for me, as well, because my nana was in the women's Auxiliary Air Force and my grandfather sailed in the British navy for the Second World War and they met then and they were both in Trafalgar Square celebrating on VE Night."
Supporting the film's two young stars are screen veterans Rupert Everett and Emily Watson as the princesses' suitably straight-laced and protective parents, King George and the Queen Mother.
A Royal Night Out opens nationally on Thursday.
A Royal Night Out
Stars: Sarah Gadon, Emily Watson, Jack Reynor, Rupert Everett, Bel Powley.
Director: Julian Jarrold
Reviewer's last word: A fun, light-hearted romp that perfectly captures the atmosphere of VE Night in London. The details are fictional but it's nice to imagine the two princesses got up to similar mischief.
Quirky fact: Has starred in three of director David Cronenberg's films (A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars) and one film by his son Brandon Cronenberg.
Best known for: Murdoch Mysteries, World Without End, Dracula Untold, A Dangerous Method.
If you like this movie you'll like these: The King's Speech, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Roman Holiday.
Quote: "It's so often that I read for the bouncy, sunny girl men fall in love with who will solve all the romantic problems in the narrative. I don't choose to work that way."