Deborah Moggach On Tulip Fever: Exclusive - Picturehouse Spotlight

Deborah Moggach On Tulip Fever: Exclusive

Cinemagoers will soon be able to see Norwich Cathedral on the big screen in the film Tulip Fever. The film…

Cinemagoers will soon be able to see Norwich Cathedral on the big screen in the film Tulip Fever. The film – which was partly shot at Norwich Cathedral and Holkham in summer 2014 and features an impressive A-list cast – is set to be released in the UK on 7 December with Cinema City being among the places where it will be shown. Back in June 2014 the Cathedral’s Cloister Garth was given an extensive movie makeover for its role in Tulip Fever which stars Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, Dane DeHaan and Dame Judi Dench.

Jenny Allison, Marketing Manager at Cinema City, talks to best-selling author Deborah Moggach who adapted her novel for the big screen adaptation.


With the book coming up to its 20th birthday of publication, do you still feel a strong connection with it? Or does it feel a bit like an estranged friend?

Very good question. The film has certainly re-ignited the book, but now in such a very different form that I feel I’m getting to know it all over again. I wrote the book in another life – a different partner, a different city – but seeing the film brings it all back, that period of being madly in love with Dutch paintings, and my own personal love affair with a painter (he used to draw me scenes from the book as I was writing it). It was a gloriously happy time and I think that’s reflected in the book.


How did you find working with Tom Stoppard on the screenplay? Was it tricky working with your own original material?

I didn’t have any interaction with Tom Stoppard – I wrote a draft, many other people wrote drafts, he wrote a draft, I came back onto the project and wrote some more….It all went on for so many years I’ve lost count of who did what. And I certainly got used to other writers altering my story and characters. I felt much happier when I was doing it myself, needless to say!


The city has been waiting with bated breath to see our beloved Norwich Cathedral on film. Are you happy with the overall look of the film? Do you feel it represents your original vision?

The scenes in the cathedral cloisters are so beautiful – I bet the people of Norwich will barely recognise it, with pigs and geese and whatnot, quite apart from Judi Dench playing the abbess, striding around smoking a pipe. The whole film is staggeringly beautiful – like stepping into a Dutch painting. Simon Elliott, the designer, did the most wonderful transformation.


Tulip Fever is in cinemas from Friday 7 December


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