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How 'Mr. Malcolm's List' celebrates inclusive casting and women in power

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Jul 06 2022 08:14 PM

Poster. Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”
Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”

In 19th century London, its most eligible bachelor Mr. Malcolm has a list of requirements for the person that he’ll marry. Aspiring bride Julia failed to meet his standards, causing her to feel humiliated. She then convinces her best friend Selina to exact revenge.

Cast. Courtesy: Dave Allocca/Starpix/Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”
Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Zawe Ashton, Freida Pinto, and Theo James. Courtesy: Dave Allocca/Starpix/Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”

In 'Mr. Malcolm's List,' Selina is played by Freida Pinto, who's also one of the executive producers. It is only in recent years that period movies and TV shows started including lead characters of color. Apart from the much-needed representation, Pinto explained why being part of the film is very important to her.

Freida Pinto as Selina. Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”
Freida Pinto as Selina. Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”

"The idea of being in a romantic comedy was something that I always nurtured and had this desire to be part of it. I never thought that my two favorite genres, which is the 90s rom coms and the period films, would just get beautifully enmeshed into one and we'd be able to create 'Mr. Malcolm's List'," she said.

Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù and Freida Pinto. Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”
Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù as Mr. Malcolm and Freida Pinto as Selina. Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”

For British actor Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù who stars as the elusive Mr. Malcolm, people are, in some ways, even more intrusive now about other people's relationship issues than they were in the past.

"Then, there was decorum and separations. These times, people are sliding through DMs with no apology, without warning. People are following you down the streets. I think celebrity culture now is a lot more sort of hands-on and insidious than maybe it was back then," he pointed out.

Julia is played by Zawe Ashton who’s engaged in real-life to actor Tom Hiddleston. Her character's reaction to being rejected caused unforeseen problems with the people around her.

Theo James and Zawe Ashton. Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”
Theo James as Captain Henry Ossory and Zawe Ashton as Julia. Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”

"When you're playing a character who does questionable things, you do have to kind of approach it from a place of non-judgment in a way. And I think when I first read the script, something I really liked was how we meet her at the beginning of the film. You know, she's four seasons into not finding a match for herself. And that type of pressure on a woman, especially in that society, felt extremely contemporary and relatable. Also sometimes it was just nice to play the villainess, scheming side," Ashton said.

Theo James. Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”
Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”

Meanwhile, Theo James plays Julia's suitor. James shared how the film's theme of rejection resonated with him.

"I've experienced that many, many times. My character kind of gets rejected multitude of times until he kind of whittled Julia down until she's up for it. (laughs) But no, I like the combative element of me and to that his character, they begin kind of flirtatiously disliking each other and that's always a great place to start," the actor said.

Director Emma Holly Jones with Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù. Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”
Director Emma Holly Jones with Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù. Courtesy: Bleecker Street “Mr. Malcolm’s List”

“'Mr. Malcolm's List' is led by an all-female team. It is directed by Emma Holly Jones and is based on the novel written by Suzanne Allain who also wrote the screenplay.

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