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Interview With Director Dominic Brigstocke (“Horrible Histories: The Movie”)

Children Have Been The Motivator

19th July 2019

You might know writer/director Dominic Brigstocke for his “Horrible Histories” television series and now he decided to take on the books of Terry Deary again for his latest film “Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans”.

That film was the opening movie of the LOCO London Comedy Film Festival and we were able to speak with director Dominic Brigstocke about his latest film, about the influence from children on filmmaking and about his other projects.

Liselotte Vanophem: Congratulations on the film. How do you feel about the movie getting its premiere tonight?

Dominic Brigstocke: I don’t really know where to start. I’m so honoured and so astonished that our little film, which we start making a year ago, would end up at the BFI and at the LOCO Film Festival. It’s amazing! We showed it at the Odeon Leicester Square the other day and it was a dream coming true. I really didn’t expect that.

LV: Why did you decide to take on the books from Terry Deary to make a film from?

DB: I really can’t take credit for either the television series or the movie on both occasions. The television series happened because the producer’s son said “Daddy, daddy, make a tv series based on the books” and then he called me. Ditto for the producer of this movie. His son said “Why don’t you make a film about Horrible Histories?” and the producer then came to us. Children have been the motivator both times.

LV: Why do you think that children still love the book so much then?

DB: I think that there’s a great British tradition in making fun of our past. That people like to laugh about how ridiculous things were in the old days. When you look at history, you realize that human beings have done some very stupid things over the years. The past and the books are a rich source for comedy. It’s very easy to see the absurd in mistakes people made. You always benefit by looking back and going “Why did you do that? That was crazy.”

LV: You have a great cast for this movie. How did you come across them and how involved are you as a director in the casting process?

DB: It was the combination of good luck, good fortune, and good planning. I think because Caroline [Norris] and I have always worked with the best writers and because the writing is good, actors read the script and go “That sounds like it might be interesting” and then they come on board. That’s how the television series got a very good cast. I think the reputation of that helped us recruit actors to come and do this film. Some actors also have children of the right age and their kids go “Come on! You’ve got to do this”. That really helps.

LV: Was there any scene that didn’t go as planned or in which you had to overcome some unforeseen circumstances?

DB: We were very fortunate actually. We wrote a script that was mostly taking place outdoors and filmed in Britain and that was a very dangerous and stupid thing to do. However, last September was the best September on record and so we arrive in the sunshine on set every day. We were very lucky and we got away with it. However, I would suggest that if we make another movie, we might just let it taking place indoors.

LV: Just one last question: Do you already have other films coming up or projects you’re working on?

DB: No, not at the moment. It’s very early days. However, we enjoyed the process of making this film so much that we might want to make another one but that’s for the public to decide. If they go and see it and if they like it then hopefully we will be allowed to do it again. It was a joyful experience. Filmmaking is a job that always allow you to smile at work. It has been a treat. We’ve been very grateful!

Thanks a lot for this interview!

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