“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” scripted by Ol Parker, was a wake-up call for Hollywood about the power of older audiences. It took several years of rejection, five directors and “about 43 drafts,” per Parker, before Fox Searchlight and Participant finally said “yes” to the project.
Adapted from Deborah Moggach’s novel “These Foolish Things,” directed by John Madden and starring the great-dame double act of Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, the gentle tale of geriatric Brits in India grossed $134 million worldwide, including $48 million in North America.
Now, while every studio that scorned the project seems to be hunting for its own feel-good comedy for graying baby boomers, Parker’s next job is likely to be some sort of “Marigold” sequel.
“If I’d had a clue there was any chance of sequel, I wouldn’t have wrapped the story up so aggressively at the end,” Parker says. “There’s no deal yet, but we want to do it because the film was really fun. Maggie and Judi aren’t going to be saying too many more lines in their careers, so it would be a privilege to be the person writing them.”