Good golly, they’ve outsourced Waking Ned Devine! Fox Searchlight, the eclectic studio behind such British art-house fare as Separate Lies, Once, and Notes on a Scandal, has invited some of its favorite actors to India for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) will direct Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, and Dev Patel in a story about a group of British retirees who think India is the ideal — and less expensive — place to spend their golden years. “Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self,” according to a press release from Fox Searchlight. “Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.”
I wonder if Searchlight pitched the esteemed actors the same way: “Six weeks in India, it will be splendid, experience of a lifetime.” To be sure, I don’t expect that the cast, which includes at least two dames, will be assigned meager accommodations. But who knows? Can you imagine the eye-daggers from Dench and Smith if they’re shown to their bunk-beds in a closet off the kitchen? Actually, the two old friends would probably have a blast.
Are you excited for this cinematic passage to India?