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From director Toby Haynes and screenwriter James Graham, the biographical drama Brexit (airing on HBO and available on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On-Demand) connects all of the dots to illustrate how Dominic Cummings (Benedict Cumberbatch), the lead strategist of the Vote Leave campaign, launched a micro-targeted social media campaign that played on emotion rather than facts to convince British voters to leave the European Union. The result and the consequences of this referendum campaign are still playing out in Britain today, and will have an effect long into the future.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, screenwriter/playwright James Graham talked about the challenges of explaining what Brexit is and how it happened, in such a limited amount of time, why he thinks it’s important to tell this story now, what made Dominic Cummings the focus and point of view of his this film, the approach Benedict Cumberbatch took with his performance, how it felt to have the first draft of his script stolen and leaked online, and what he’s working on next.
Collider - First - Thank - Understanding - Brexit
Collider: First of all, thank you for giving me a better understanding of what Brexit is and what it means, with this film. As an American, that was much appreciated.
JAMES GRAHAM: We spend most of our time here in the UK not understanding it either. It’s absolutely bizarre and crazy, especially this week. So, you’re welcome.
Challenges - Brexit - Script - Amount - Time
What were the biggest challenges in getting across what Brexit is and what it means in a script, in such a limited amount of time?
GRAHAM: Good question. The first challenge is how partisan this issue is. There was no appetite, from me or any of the program makers, at all, to make a show for one particular side or the other. And if we’re being brutally honest, the expectations, from a playwright...
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