We sat down for chat with the legendary Jennifer Saunders, 57, and Joanna Lumley, 70, and got the goss on all things big knickers and Harry Styles
With the Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie finally hitting our screens we were the most excited ever when we got a chance to sit down with comedy legends Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders… and it’s not just when they’re on screen that they’re funny…
What was it like seeing Kate Moss emerge from the Thames in the film?
JS: She was glorious! I tell you what was extraordinary, she sits huddled in a blanket with a cup of tea after being in the freezing cold water and then the second the camera goes on it’s like watching a goddess, it’s quite something to see!
Did you hang out with Kate after filming?
JS: Yes we did a bit of hanging out!
JL: We were working 14 hours a day and had very early call times so there wasn’t much time to hang out.
JS: It was a great day with her. We were filming down in Whitby and Kate had finished before us and she said ‘Oh I don’t want to go!’ and then she said ‘I’ll see you down the pub!’ So we all went and had fish and chips down the pub with Kate, Bruno Tonioli, Jeanette Cranky, Celia Imire, Lulu…
JL: God bless them, it was quite extraordinary!
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What did Kate say when she found out that you kill her off in the film?
JS: I’d written it and sold the film and then someone said, ‘Have you told Kate?!’ And I said ‘Oh…’ I just imagined that she’d say yes. So I was really nervous sending her the script. I got a text back and she said ‘love it.’ That’s all you get with Kate ‘yeah, love it.’ I said, ‘Oh great so you’ll do it?’ And she just said ‘yeah.’ (laughs).
Are all the celebrity cameos old mates?
JS: No, some are new mates.
JL: Who’s a new mate?
JL: Jon Hamm’s a new mate…
JS: Jeanette Tough.
JL: Old mate.
JS: Lulu… old mate.
JS: Barry Humphries old mate but new cameo celeb. He’s got a proper part though…
Did you write the script with these celebs in mind?
JS: Not always. I’d written a gag with Joan Collins in mind because Joan Collins is Joan Collins and you think, ‘Well… there is no gag unless it’s Joan Collins.’
The Barry Humphries part I wrote and he was kind enough to do it. Some people are named and playing themselves, or a version of themselves, like Emma Bunton and Lulu. It’s the version of themselves that I make them become and they’re just hilarious.
JL: Kate’s been in a Comic Relief one before and so has Stella McCartney.
Is there anyone who couldn’t make it who you offered a cameo to?
JL: Obama… he couldn’t be in it!
Is it true Kim Kardashian is doing a secret cameo?
What role would Kim have if she was in the next one?
JS: She’s not in them…
JL: She’s not in it…
JS: I’m not going to ask her to be in it, so don’t even go there.
And apparently Harry Styles?
JS: No, that’s what happens with the internet.
Was there anyone you had to persuade to be in the film?
JS: No… but my happiest moment was when we were filming a fantasy sequence and I looked over and had Stella McCartney, Lara Stone, Daisy Lowe, Alexa Chung, Suki Waterhouse, Jordan Dunn and Kate wafting in… and it was my fantasy, never mind Edina’s. Because they all knew each other they were all happy as Larry.
Is Emma the only Spice Girl in the movie?
JS: Emma is the only Spice Girl in the film. Yes… (laughs). I’m sorry to say the only Spice Girl in the film is *slams fist on table* (laughs). I’d like her to bring some of her mates to the opening night though. I think it’s a bit unfair to bring other Spice Girls into it. She’s a bit feisty though that one!
What was it like meeting up with the original cast again?
JS: We see each other off and on. We see Julia the least because she lives in Bath.
JL: Unless you actually work with them you don’t get much chance to see them. June Whitfield turned 90 on the shoot and I did a radio show interviewing her on her life and we did a play together so I know her differently outside of Ab Fab too.
What do you think about celebrity culture changing since Absolutely Fabulous was on TV – with people becoming internet famous?
JS: It is a different beast. It does make it a very different kind of world and I think the film reflects that Patsy and Eddie don’t survive well in that kind of world because they’re not in control of it anymore.
JL: Also magazines like OK and Hello had only just started in 1990.
JS: In a way you could say it’s more democratic but it’s also less focused so everyone has to do a lot more to get the idea of a product out there.
Are you fans of Twitter?
JL: My agent very kindly opened up a Twitter account on my behalf…
JS: I know because you’re rubbish.
JL: I’ve put it on hold as I don’t even read it or do anything with it. Charities say ‘You need to tweet this’ and they’d say ‘Have you done it?’ and I’d have to send it to my agent as I don’t know how to do it. It was just insane!
Do you see the characters doing Twitter and social media?
JL: No. Bubble didn’t feed Edina’s Twitter and it died. (laughs). I can’t even make a phone call!
What do you think Patsy and Eddie would make of Kate Middleton’s Vogue cover last month?
JL: Or… what would Jennifer like to say about it? (laughs)
JS: Erm… I dunno. I suppose that’s the way it’s going. I think ever since Princess Diana did it there’s a sort of expectation. It will probably sell loads of extra copies though.
Shouldn’t it have been you two?!
JL: Well we are inside! There’s a royal seal of approval as we’re in the Vogue 100.
You talked about going to the pub together. Did you do anything else wild behind the scenes?
JL: I’m afraid that’s about as wild as it gets! It’s not a party… you’re up at 5am and you get home at 8.30pm.
What about drinking? You must have had a few to get you in the mood on set…
JL: No we never did that. We drank Ginger Ale for champagne – we’re meant to be drinking Bollinger – the bottles pop and have foam but it’s just ginger ale!
JS: When you’re taking your make-up off at the end of the night someone might pour you half a cup of wine into a plastic cup but that is it I’m afraid. You wouldn’t be able to do it if you were drunk!
What are your top moments ever filming Ab Fab?
JS: I don’t think I’ve ever got over Patsy’s pants falling down when we were pretending we were really old. We were dressed up in costume wearing these flat bodies with little rice bags for tits and Patsy’s could tuck into her waistband.
JL: We had false necks and hands like elephants claws. We had false bald heads and false teeth and we could hardly stop laughing anyway. I had arranged for these huge silk pink pants and a huge bee goes up Patsy’s nose and her septum has disappeared because she’s done so much coke and so it goes straight down her throat and then her pants fall off.
JS: And then we were really laughing. So much so we had to pretend the characters were laughing and then her pants fell down and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my life. We couldn’t do another take.
JL: Oh it was paradise.
Apart from getting drunk all the time what part of Patsy’s character do you not have that you’d like more of in your own life?
JL: I care about things. I mind about hurting feelings and getting things wrong and letting people down and not being on time. Patsy doesn’t care about anything! Sometimes at the end of the day I think, ‘Did I say thank you to that person?’ And ‘did I remember to shut the door?’ you know. Patsy wouldn’t do any of those, she would just drift off. She couldn’t live without Eddie – she is her lifeline. Some people open doors for her, some people drive, some people pay for stuff and some people get coke for her.
JS: In the movie, Edina runs out of money to pay for her and Patsy doesn’t know what the word is for cash for so she just says ‘hand money!’
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is released in cinemas on July 1