He co-stars in ‘The Trip of Their Lives’ with Kelly Preston, Jenny Seagrove, Judi Dench and Franco Nero
Sally Phillips co-stars with Kelly Preston, Jenny Seagrove, Judi Dench and Franco Nero in the film ‘The Trip of Their Lives’, which opens this weekend in theaters. The film is the last film for Preston, who died last year from breast cancer with which he had secretly battled for two long years. The plot of the story centers on four women who have five days to recreate the train journey they made in their youth and took them to the island of Palma de Mallorca, where they experienced the Vuitton de la Seu show. Leading the cast we find Phillips, a pioneer in British comedy starring women who audiences will remember for the three Bridget Jones installments, where she played Shazza, and the series Veep, although her seminal series is ‘Smack the Pony’ which began airing in 1999 when women had not yet independently conquered the comedy genre.
– You are a pioneer in the British comedy genre.
-It’s true. Looking back, it seems strange that I was not frustrated with my profession. When I started it was impossible for a woman to make a living doing comedy, but I did not settle and I fought because I knew that not only men could be funny. Now I don’t notice sexism because before it was much worse.
– Were your beginnings very hard?
-Difficult, then there were no opportunities. Women were not considered funny and it was practically impossible to get a place on stage to tell jokes. I like monologues, getting on stage and saying profanities. That, then, was not allowed to us.
–’Smack The Pony ‘changed his career and was a hit in England.
-It was a series that changed things a lot because you didn’t have to be masculine to make jokes, or extremely sexual. We were dedicated to showing how ordinary women could be funny, ridiculous, stupid, and eccentric every day. It kind of opened up old ways of having fun, because it had become unsafe to laugh at women in the sixties and seventies and we managed to change things again.
-This movie, ‘The trip of their lives’, was filmed in Mallorca. What memories do you keep from the filming?
It is a tape that will be forever in my heart because it was Kelly’s last. I think Mallorca is a wonderful place, where we all really enjoy it. It was an unforgettable shoot
–This is the story of four friends, you were also the best friend of Bridget Jones. It seems to inspire confidence in that type of character.
“I think they hire me to alleviate the dramatic moments.” I love being with friends, putting masks on my face and talking about anything while eating ice cream. Friendship fills our hearts with joy.
–You are closely linked to various associations that defend people with Down syndrome.
–My eldest son is wonderful and because of him I have helped to produce a documentary on this subject. At a time when the chance of being able to live with Down syndrome is very high, we see that there are a large number of terminations of pregnancies due to Down syndrome. But having Down syndrome now is not what it was in the past and I believe that these people must be included in the culture.
– Is it difficult for you to get the roles that interest you?
– For any actor it is a complicated task to get a great character. As an artist I have expectations, but I don’t wait for the character to fall from the sky. I’m always writing, creating, looking for my place in a profession that is not easy at all.
In the flower of life
Truffled with clichés, ‘The trip of their lives’ is presented, a road movie, with Blondie at the top of the soundtrack, which moves between drama and comedy. Three colleagues in their fifties, played by Kelly Preston (‘The Last Song’), Sally Phillips (‘Pride + Prejudice + Zombies’) and Jenny Seagrove (‘Another Mother’s Son’), cling to the idea of enjoying the life recreating a train trip through Europe. Complications and unexpected situations arise on their journey that put their friendship to the test. Old quarrels also have a place, romantic entanglements and expiation of the mistakes of yesteryear. First feature by Jules Williamson, an award-winning short filmmaker who does not escape handling tourist stereotypes when the protagonists go from country to country. The production toured a large part of the Old Continent: London, Surrey, Paris, Alicante, Barcelona, Palma … Filmed in real trains, a spirit of camaraderie emerged during filming. “We became very good friends,” says Seagrove. “It was what I call a tattoo job,” Phillips exclaims. “That is what I call the jobs that stay with you, and this one is definitely going to do it.”
Phillips felt some concern about the project, since he had never met, much less worked, with his co-stars. “I was concerned that we could not convincingly convey the friendship of the group, but the bond between us formed very quickly and a true friendship emerged. In this movie I made friends forever ». Musically, remastered classic hits by Blondie sound, including Call Me, One Way or Another, Dreaming, Heart of Glass and The Tide is High, along with some more unknown songs, a cover and previously unreleased exclusive songs like Tonight. Ben Miller (‘Johnny English’), Franco Nero, breakout actress Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips and Judi Dench complete the lead casting.
-You have worked with great actresses in comedy, from Julia Louis-Dreyfus in ‘Veep’, to Lily Bevan or Emma Thompson. Do you feel the influence of your colleagues in your work?
-When I was young I felt different, I was more clear that I wanted to make my mark in the industry. Now what I want is to be like all the ones you mentioned. For me it is an honor to be able to work with such talented actresses and share lines with them, humor is a job that needs a great opponent in front of you to return each joke or each silence with the right rhythm.
-You had planned to shoot a movie with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Amy Poehler, but it was suspended due to Dreyfus illness. Will they work together again?
-I hope so. We are on hiatus due to the pandemic situation. We plan to resume that project as soon as we can, but it is not easy when there are so many productions starting at the same time. We have written the script and I think we could start shooting next year.
– Do you have plans to return to television?
-Yes. I am holding meetings with several networks to develop a comedy, but I want to collaborate on a project where I can make my monologues. I would like to be more on stage.
– Two decades have passed since ‘Bridget Jones’, a saga that could not be shot in the same way these days.
-It’s true. We shot the tape in a more innocent time, before we knew that it is not correct to talk about fat as it is exposed in the story. Basically, we haven’t changed, but I think companies are now exploiting female friendships to put pressure on women. The idea of turning female friendships into a commodity where they constantly encourage each other to live better, work harder, be more productive, be a sign of virtue, and be kind all the time is a double-edged sword. I think ‘The Journey of Our Lives’ is a much more honest story.
– Do you think there could be a new installment of ‘Bridget Jones’?
–I have always been wrong when they asked me that question. They made it for me with the first one, and I said it was unique. Then, with the second, I said that a third could not be filmed. But I don’t think we’re going to shoot a fourth installment.