“I had just done The First Grader with Justin Chadwick and I saw his ability to dig very deeply into a story and tell it with power, emotion and authenticity. This was key to the decision,” says Singh.
McCracken continues: “Justin is not at all intimidated by scale and you can see his range of skills from The Other Boleyn Girl to The First Grader (shot in Kenya), from a big sweeping period drama to an intimate emotional story. Marrying his experience (and evident joy) in making films in Africa with his confidence to tackle grand scale projects seemed a winning combination for this film.”
“Justin came in with a very fresh eye,” says Nicholson. “From the beginning he discussed his vision for the film to have a visual freedom and immediacy about it, and while audiences may be expecting a solemn and stately tribute to a grand old man, he wanted to get right in there, ‘fast and dirty’. So we worked the script to find ways to stop the movie ever settling down into a series of solemn speeches.”