One of the most famous faces in the world, Robert Pattinson, is set to star in his own series, titled The Roman Holiday, which will explore his relationship with his fans.
The young actor will play the dual role of Dante and William St Clair (based on the real-life couple from William Thacker’s 1924 novel of the same name) which will see him travel around the United Kingdom and Ireland, filming scenes in both cities – Belfast and Dublin. The show’s executive producer is Tom Fontana, who also directs a number of episodes.
The story centres around the couple’s whirlwind romance and subsequent marriage which was celebrated in Dublin in 1928 – at the time, one of the most iconic events in the city’s history. The film will also premiere at the Venice Film Festival in August 2019.
Filming In Dublin
The series marks a welcome slice of Hollywood in Ireland, and will see the 23-year-old land in Dublin to film. Shooting in Dublin is a real bonus for the city, and speaks volumes for the series’ production value.
The show’s production designer, Emma Westwick, did a lot of research into interiors and fashion in Dublin during the early 20th century, and even hired a stylist to help her set the scenes to look period-perfect.
“We wanted to put people in the 1920s and bring them to life. The clothes will be incredible – we used the old fashioned way of making them, so it was all about fitting the fabric around the performer’s body,” Westwick, who has worked with George Clooney, said.
With a rich source material like this, it was important to find the right location and get the right team. Nigel Lythgo, managing director of Pure M Ltd, an international film and television production company, said the success of this project hinges on how well they manage the expectations of their audience. “It’s important to set the scene for the audience and give them that feeling of what to expect. People often don’t know what to expect when they come across an adaptation of a classic novel for TV and movies,” he said.
Robert Pattinson In Rome
Another scene which was filmed in Dublin and will premiere in the series is the “Roman Holiday” sequence, set in the Eternal City. The scene sees Pattinson’s character, Dante, emerge from a taxi in front of the Spanish Steps, looking like a king amongst men. The steps are one of the most photographed spots in the world, and form the backdrop of many an iconic image – including the one that adorns the cover of the first volume of Il Divo (The Divos), the international bestseller written by Mario Puzo. A step ahead of his time, Dante decides to take a walk to catch some rays and enjoy the sunny weather. En route, he passes a restaurant with white tablecloths which is hosting a masquerade ball. The scene is a real romantic classic – and one of Dante’s many defining moments.
The Wedding Party
This scene also sees Dante reunited with his old flame, Serena, played by the gorgeous and talented Kristen Stewart. Serena is now married to a prince, and the two are having a posh wedding party. The happy couple’s best man is none other than the King of Siam – and Serena’s father is King Farouk, who also happens to be one of the most iconic figures in the history of cinema.
After the ceremony, the newlyweds are whisked off to be alone for a bit and give the attendees some peace. One of the hallmarks of the series will be Pattinson playing various characters (and changing back again and again) and interacting with different people. Having a wedding party on hand ensures he’ll have someone to talk to while he’s changing back and forth between roles. He also has a tendency to wander off-screen, so the wedding party scenes will help bring him back on-screen – as well as give him a chance to shine.
A Very British Marriage
In the years leading up to World War II, a lot of “classic” novels became bestsellers – including Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen, and The King’s Speech by Anthony Trollope. In this scene, we see the glamorous and talented Grace Kelly (played by the stunningly beautiful Kelly Maclaurin) waltzing with the world-famous British actor, Montgomery Clift, in the London Palladium. The scene was shot during the early stages of the couple’s romance, and it was one of Kelly’s favourite moments from the film.
Montgomery Clift had a reputation as a bit of a womaniser, but that didn’t slow down Kelly, who was only 24 years old at the time. They had met on the set of the 1955 movie The Country Girl, and their chemistry was obvious from the beginning – much to the dismay of Kelly’s mother, who struggled to look after both her children during this time.
“We were very different people, but we both had a keen interest in the arts. When I asked him to be my waltz partner, he agreed. It’s one of my favourite scenes in the entire movie. We had such a good time dancing together that day,” said Kelly. “To this day, I remember that dance and smile whenever I think of it.”
The Importance Of Research
The creators of the show did a lot of research into different aspects of the twenties, from transportation to interiors and fashion, and wanted to capture that atmosphere as best they could. They read a lot of historical magazines, bought old automobiles to re-enact the era, and even went to London to explore the city at that time. Using these methods helped ensure the scenes came to life and felt genuine.
“It was important to us that people believe it’s actually 1924 and that they feel like it’s something new. The research that went into it is evident in the finished product. It really was a labour of love,” said the show’s co-creator, Peter Kosmowsky.
From the moment they laid eyes on the novel’s cover, these creators knew they had to make a television series about it. They were particularly struck by the cover’s photo, which saw William and Kate in their early 20s and were astounded by the couple’s easy and relaxed interaction. Their love story, heavily influenced by the Roaring Twenties, is filled with dramatic moments.
“We were trying to find a way into this world, and the photo of these two looked so authentic and so cinematic. It was obvious that this was going to be a story that people would be interested in. We were both huge fans of the novel and its author, William Thacker, so it was quite natural for us to want to tell this story,” said Kosmowsky.
Embrace The Chaos
The third and final scene which can be viewed in this trailer is a chaotic scene where Dante’s life – as well as that of William’s – is turned upside down. The two are at a crossroads in their relationship, with William having had an affair with another woman which led to an illegitimate daughter being born. This affair was also the cause of a massive rift in the Clift family, which led to a broken partnership between uncle and nephew.
Dante, who has always been supportive of William, decides to rebel against the establishment by pitching up at the door of William’s apartment, demanding a fight. It’s fair to say that this scene, which will see Dante brawled with William, is one of the more memorable – if not downright violent – scenes from the show.
These creators wanted to show that despite all the glamour and luxury of the twenties, life was still pretty tough for some. One of the more poignant aspects of this scene is that it sees one of the most famous faces in Hollywood history, Montgomery Clift, take on a role which will ultimately see him pitted against another legendary Hollywood star, Peter Sellers, who plays the role of Dante’s father.