London Film Festival 2014: Testament of Youth premiere – a chat with the cast on the red carpet
Testament of Youth is a deeply soul searching film: it has hope, love and loss at the core of its existence. This new release documents the life of Vera Brittain, a girl at the time of World War I, who suffered many losses throughout her life, that of her family, friends, lovers and, most tragically, her youth.
Directed by James Kent and produced by David Heyman and Rosie Alison this documentary style film stars Kit Harrington, Dominic West, Emily Watson, Colin Morgan, Jonathan Bailey and Taron Egerton, who, according to producer Rosie Alison, are all profoundly talented.
The Upcoming got the chance to speak to James Kent, Rosie Alison and Jonathan Bailey on the world premiere red carpet for the film.
James, do you think there is a lesson to be learned from this movie?
JK: I think the great lesson of this film is: young people, never trust your elders. They are not as wise as you think they are. And that’s part of the story of this film.
Rosie, in producing A Testament of Youth, what were your inspirations?
RA: Gosh, my inspiration was that I’ve always loved film, but one wants a film that really has a meaning and touches the heart and soul as well as the mind. This is a film that incorporates an extraordinary powerful journey of a person, and it’s also got nature in there and poetry and love. It has a bigger portrait of the human condition.
How did you feel researching for this film and reading the original memoirs, diaries and letters?
RA: I was overwhelmed by them because I read them in adolescence and she (Vera) has always been a part of my life really. One you read through her works she sort of stays with you. So when I heard that the BBC were doing Testament interviews I immediately got in touch and made a serious pitch to do it.
Do you feel as though the film is a success?
RA: I am very happy, I think it is beautiful and has integrity. It definitely has very profound things to say.
Jonathan, are you excited to be here in London?
JB: To be involved in the BFI is on thing, but to come here and to meet all these people is extraordinary and them we still get to see the film. Yeah I’m excited.
Can you see something of yourself in the main character, Roland?
JB: Well he’s a poet, he’s a romantic. I mean, I can write a haiku (laughs). He’s amazing, he’s strong and I aspire to be like Roland, but whether I am I don’t know.
Have you read the original memoirs, diaries and letters?
Yeah, it’s the first thing to do. I bought a copy of the memoir when I met James, Rosie and David. And now, what I lament having read that: this generation everyone’s on Twitter, everyone’s using email, there is no legacy to pass on. But it is incredible, the remains of the correspondence between these people. We are lucky that Vera was so talented in her writing.
Testament of Youth is released nationwide on 16th January 2015.