The Favourite seems to be the favourite with the critic nominations earning recognition as we head into the season. Just the other week, the film won ten awards with the British Independent Film Awards, has been nominated for Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes, and Best Screenplay.
I had a quick tete a tete with scribe, Tony McNamara to discuss working with director Yorgos Lanthimos and coming into the story after Deborah Davis had initially penned it.
McNamara jumped right in when Lanthimos approached him and thought the script was ideal for him and “right up my alley.”
Did you have a deep interest in the royal family before coming into this?
No, I thought it was just a great story. Kudos to Deborah on finding it. It was just great and Yorgos brought it to me thinking we could do something fresh and interesting with it.
He tends to write his scripts himself, so talk about what he said to you about the film and what he wanted you to do?
He said he’d been reading scripts and he read it. He thought our sensibilities would be good together. He showed me the story. I saw some of his films and thought, “oh my God.” He’s such a great director and was right up my alley in terms of taste.
We talked about what it could be. He wanted it to be a period movie, but he wanted a different kind of period movie. He wanted it to be funny and tragic and tonally, he had a specific tone in mind. We started our journey from there.
Some of those scenes are so far out there, talk about writing some of those scenes with the use of the C-word.
He’s got such a strong vision and we were on the same path fairly quickly. I’d do a pass and we’d hang out or go for walks talking about it. I’d go off and do another pass and we’d do it again. We got closer and closer each time. It’s so creative and fun. You feel, as a writer that you’re making something bold. You try anything and it’s fun. You have a strong idea of where you’re heading and that’s also fun. I think that was the process.
He went off and made The Lobster and I’d do my show so sometimes we’d not talk for six months. He loved Olivia and Rachel and then Emma came along so we knew who were doing it for. We had a long and enjoyable process. We also knew the tone was different and made sure it stayed consistent throughout such as keeping the language was contemporary but not too much.
With the C-word, they use it in The Canterbury Tales and epople use it in certain cultures. I thought let’s use ti sometimes because it seems appropriate.
The joy was it was fun and wild. I loved writing the bath scene. It was a late scene and we needed to come up with something because we had a budget issue. It was meant to be somewhere else but then it worked out really well.
Nicholas Hoult is really hilarious and writing those scenes were fun. He landed everything. We could have a half good joke but the actors made it land.