'The Lost King' keeps British royals center-stage at Toronto festival

Co-writer and actor Steve Coogan, director Stephen Frears, and co-writer Jeff Pope at the Premiere of The Lost King during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival (Photo: AFP)
Co-writer and actor Steve Coogan, director Stephen Frears, and co-writer Jeff Pope at the Premiere of The Lost King during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival (Photo: AFP)

Stephen Frears has built much of his storied career directing movies about the British monarchy



By AFP

Published: Mon 12 Sep 2022, 11:02 AM

Last updated: Mon 12 Sep 2022, 11:09 AM

From The Queen to The Lost King, which had its world premiere at the Toronto film festival Friday, Stephen Frears has built much of his storied career directing movies about the British monarchy.

But a day after the death of Queen Elizabeth II united millions around the world in grief, he admitted he was still at a loss to explain why the global public remains so fixated on the royal family.

“I don’t know, people just are! And I seem to have profited from it. So I should keep quiet,” he joked on the film’s red carpet at North America’s biggest film festival.

His latest comedy-drama The Lost King — the stranger-than-fiction true story of a Scottish housewife finding a Medieval English king beneath a car park, given the Hollywood big-screen treatment — was already an improbable movie, before the timing of its world premiere.

“It’s very, very nice to be here, and quite odd on this day of all days,” the director told the premiere audience at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre, which had dimmed its marquee lights following word of the Queen’s passing.

“Here we are at the premiere of our movie The Lost King on the day when the world is coming to terms with the lost queen,” co-writer Jeff Pope said on the red carpet.

The movie itself — starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan — depicts how amateur historian Philippa Langley defied all the odds to successfully track down and unearth the 500-year-old remains of controversial monarch Richard III.

“The death of the Queen is something that most Britons are genuinely moved by and, whatever their cultural differences, most people have huge respect for the Queen and what she did,” Coogan said on the red carpet.

“But putting that to one side, I think our film is not really about an obsession with monarchy itself — it’s specifically Richard III, who is this sort of demonized king. And Philippa Langley herself was marginalized, and is marginalized even after her quest to discover the lost king.”


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