Brit wit disguises social satire as murder mystery
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
Repped by: Cathy King, ICM London; Patty Detroit, ICM Los Angeles
The films that changed his life: “Gone With the Wind,” “Wuthering Heights,” “The Goodbye Girl”
Worst advice/studio note you’ve ever been given: “Stick to singing, dear.”
Londoner Julian Fellowes has trod the boards in the West End, been in movies like “Tomorrow Never Dies” and “Shadowlands,” and is holding down a role in the BBC series “Monarch of the Glen.”
His television writing dates back to 1990. In 1995, he nabbed an Intl. Emmy for a new version of “Little Lord Fauntleroy” for the Beeb.
Now, he has inherited the role of feature film writer with his “Gosford Park,” director Robert Altman’s first British pic, set to open the London Film Festival on Nov. 7. The year-end release boasts a stellar cast that reads like a who’s who of the British cinema and stage worlds.
“Gosford Park” invites us to an English house party in the 1930s, as Fellowes puts it, “with the family, the guests, the servants, etc., all leading completely contrasting lives under one roof.”
Actor-producer Bob Balaban brought the talented Fellowes to the attention of Altman, who worked closely with the writer throughout production. Fellowes acknowledges there is a murder mystery element but quotes Altman on the subject: “This isn’t a whodunit. It’s a who-cares-whodunit.”
Fellowes won’t be idly lounging about country estates for a while. He’s currently adapting the novels “The Angel in the House,” by Kate O’Riordan, and “Piccadilly Jim,” by P.G. Wodehouse.