Great news for Dev Patel fans: The Personal History of David Copperfield is now available for rent or purchase on-demand. Directed by Armando Iannucci—who wrote the screenplay with fellow Veep alum Simon Blackwell—this adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic 1850 novel, David Copperfield, had a short theatrical run in August, many weren’t able to get to the movie theater due to the ongoing pandemic. Between that and the delay of The Green Knight, it’s been a rough time for Patel-heads. (*Geoge Costanza voice* It was supposed to be the year of Dev!)
Thankfully, you can now stream The Personal History of David Copperfield from the safety of your home, and you can also watch this exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette right here at Decider—featured in the above video player—to get the inside scoop on how the filmmakers recreated the era of this classic tale. The Victorian era of the Dickens stories have been brought to life on film time and time again, but for his version of 1850s London, Iannucci wanted a fresher take.
“I wanted it to feel fresh and exciting, ” Iannucci says in the clip. “It was the capital city of the biggest empire that the world had ever seen at the time. It was the height of the industrial revolution. It should feel like you were arriving in Manhattan in the 1930s.”
Production designer Cristina Casali brought that vision to life with the vibrant color palette you see in the film. And just because it’s not your typical dreary outlook of Copperfield’s London, doesn’t mean it’s not historically accurate. In researching the time period, Casali found plenty to work with. “I was shocked at how much pattern there was around,” she says. “I mean, carpets, the richness, colors, and the clashing of patterns.
As for the clothes, costume designer Suzie Harman felt that 100-year-old stories don’t necessarily need 100-year-old-looking clothes. “The buildings, the clothes—everything was fresh and new and modern.”
Personally, I’m just thrilled to watch a period piece where I can actually see what’s going on.
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