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Trivia / Vera Drake

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  • Acting in the Dark: Only Imelda Staunton knew that the topic of the movie was abortion ahead of time. And even she didn't know that Vera would be arrested until the actors playing the police knocked on the door of the house they were rehearsing in.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Mike Leigh got his cast together for six months of improvisation and rehearsals to properly develop a family dynamic.
    • Vera's family's reaction during the scene above where she's arrested. The other cast members were genuinely surprised.
  • No Budget: The budget was so tight that they ran out of money shortly before shooting finished.
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  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: When the actors hum, they hum generic songs because the film couldn't get the rights to actual ones.
  • Sleeper Hit: The film was turned down at the Cannes Film Festival, and Imelda Staunton thought it would be an Acclaimed Flop. But then it was a hit at the Venice Film Festival and ended up with Oscar nominations.
  • Star-Making Role: Imelda Staunton was a respected theatre actress beforehand with a couple of notable film roles (Shakespeare in Love). But her Oscar-nominated performance here brought her to mainstream attention.
  • Throw It In: The film was largely improvised to get a realistic vibe.
  • What Could Have Been: Daniel Mays initially used a lot of curse words during rehearsals, feeling it fit his character. Mike Leigh however told him that a working class boy like Sid in 1950 would not curse so much around women or his family.
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  • Write What You Know: Mike Leigh created the Culture Clash based off his own childhood, where had lived in a working class neighborhood, and had relations living in more affluent areas nearby.
    "Those two worlds were forever colliding. So you get the one world and its relationship with the other going on in my films."