Producers Tana, Foreman discuss film

Variety Screening Series: Los Angeles

Film: “The Duchess” (Saul Dibb, Paramount Vantage)

Q&A: Producer Gabrielle Tana and Amanda Foreman, author of “Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire”

From the book’s writing through the film’s final edit, the process of bringing costumed epic “The Duchess” to the screen spanned several decades.

“I spent five years with (the Duchess) since the day I discovered her to the day I brought her to the publisher,” said author Amanda Foreman.

Said producer Gabrielle Tana, “When we started working on the film, Keira (Knightley) was 13.”

Once filming began, it was difficult for Foreman to separate herself from the project. “They stopped calling me because I would have terrible tantrums,” she said. “I had to leave to preserve the relationship. Someone explained to me that once you sell the rights, you have to go away. It’s like selling your house. You can’t go to the new owner’s home and say, ‘What did you do to my living room?’ “

Foreman and Tana said with her mix of tragedy and glamour, they believe the character of Georgiana will speak to audiences.

“This is a woman who was always looking to be loved by everyone,” said Tana. “Hopefully, her spirit goes through in telling her story.”

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more