Curtis on Van Gogh

The National Film Theatre on London’s South Bank played host to a special sneak screening of Vincent and the Doctor, Richard Curtis’s debut Who script this week.

Doctor Who - Vincent and the DoctorThe creator of Love, Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral sat down with Who star Karen Gillan for a Q&A about his much anticipated episode which sees the Doctor working with Vincent Van Gogh to fight a possibly alien threat in Provence.

Curtis talked about the responsibility he felt towards portraying Van Gogh.

“I’m terrifically moved by the life and fate of Van Gogh. He’s probably the single great artist – in all formats – who received no praise whatsoever for his work.

If you look back at Dickens, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Michaelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci… all hugely famous in their lives. And then this one incredibly popular artist with no praise at all, literally selling the one painting. It was that thought which initially made me wonder whether or not we could use time travel to put that right. That was the initial inspiration for writing the episode.”

Despite the enormous amount of freedom he had writing his own idea, he was still a hired hand and subject to The Grand Moff’s laws.

“I wrote a version, Steven [Moffat] and Piers [Wenger, producer] criticised it a lot… then I wrote another one. And Jonny [Cambell, director] criticised it! Then we had a readthrough with Karen and Matt, and I suddenly realised they were right, and that it was bad. And then I rewrote it…”

Curtis has not ruled out writing again for Who in a future series provided he had another good idea.

“Almost 100% of my work experiences have been unhappy – I could put them in order! – but this has been a very happy one. From actors to producers to director it’s been great fun, and I’m sure that’s what shows in the zest and the energy of the series – the people who are making it are having a good time.”

(Via SFX)


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