Armando Iannucci, the director of The Personal History of David Copperfield has spoken out about his decision to cast Dev Patel as the eponymous lead in his Charles Dickens adaptation.
Dev Patel is a British actor of Indian heritage, and stars in the film alongside Peter Capaldi, Hugh Laurie and Tilda Swinton.
In an interview with the Guardian where interviewer Andrew Anthony suggested that his new adaptation took a “step into the unknown”, Iannucci responded: “Personally I didn’t think it was any different, though I can see why people might think that”.
He explained his decision to make colour-blind castings: “It just felt like, why are we not doing this?”
“It’s when I thought of Dev as David. He said: ‘Do I have an Indian father?’ No. Although it’s set in 1840, for the people in the film it’s the present day. And it’s an exciting present”.
Iannucci went on to say: “It wasn’t a conscious reaction to Brexit, but the conversation has gone very insular in terms of what Britain is and what it doesn’t want to be. I wanted to celebrate what Britain actually is, and it’s much more of a carefree, enjoyable, humorous kind of zesty, energetic place”.
Deemed a “buoyant and incredibly funny crowd-pleaser” by the Guardian, and a “rollicking farce” that “keeps the spirit of Dickens intact” by the Telegraph, The Personal History of David Copperfield has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. It will be released in UK cinemas on January 10 2020.