Behind the Scenes of Filming the Interview Scene with Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew: An Exclusive Look into the Making of “Scoop”

2024-04-22 17:37:00

What was it like working on the interview scene? Wasn’t it Rufus Sewell’s first day filming as Prince Andrew?

Yes, it was his first day of filming. He and I went onto the set, which was a very accurate replica of the South Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, a huge room. The chairs were two meters apart. The idea was to film the whole thing from start to finish. That was about 20 minutes of the 50-minute interview. We didn’t have a single sample. Director Philip Martin asked: “Do you want to try it?”, we said yes, were equipped with microphones, sat down, legs crossed and off we went.

How many takes?

We filmed it in one go, 20 minutes, and then we repeated the scenes the rest of the day. Sometimes we made it through one without asking what the next line of dialogue was, and sometimes we didn’t.

Rufus Sewell is unrecognizable under all that Prince Andrew makeup…

When we sat down and I asked him a question as Emily Maitlis and heard him answer as Prince Andrew, the resemblance to the real person was striking. Every little detail. The biggest challenge for me was staying focused and reacting as Emily, not Gillian. Otherwise I would have blurted out, “Oh, my God, this is incredible!”

Sam McAlister, who organized the original interview and co-wrote the script for “Scoop,” says she could barely control her expressions during the live interview.

Yes, because if she had reacted immediately and Prince Andrew’s team had seen it, they might have quickly thought that the whole thing wasn’t going well and wasn’t in their best interests.

Emily Maitlis is not the first role in which you play a real person. Where do you set the limit so that it doesn’t just become an imitation?

I played Margaret Thatcher in The Crown, and I was given one piece of advice that was very helpful for any role like that: “There’s a reason they hired you. So it’s important to include a part of yourself.” If you try to erase every detail of your own character, it comes across as forced and unnatural, like a copy. You find balance by not being so obsessive and allowing a part of yourself to happen.

You’ve played strong women since The X-Files. Where does Emily fit into the ranks of these resilient women?

Resilient, interesting… In England, Emily is known as Superwoman because she is so intelligent. Because she can talk to anyone, ask tough questions, and hold the other person accountable. She also ice swims, runs marathons and is a mother.

We live in a world where people believe the media less and less. What do you think about it?

When journalists act responsibly and are held accountable for their reporting, it makes a huge difference. And that becomes more important in the age of AI, which is becoming more and more part of our lives. If there is accountability in the media, then journalism will remain special and unique.

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