Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, the stars of the cult hit TV show-turned-movie Absolutely Fabulous, say the script for the film was finally written because of a 100,000-pound bet.
Saunders says she then forgot to ask permission from supermodel Kate Moss if the main plot line for the film could revolve around her death.
Saunders, who played alcoholic PR agent Edina Monsoon, and Lumley, who played her best friend, the even more drug and alcohol-addicted magazine editor Patsy Stone, have dished the dirt on their on-screen characters.
Speaking to Lateline, the British actresses also discuss politics, fame and activism:
First things first, Patsy and Edina are horrible women:
Lumley and Saunders want you to know that their Absolutely Fabulous alter egos, Patsy and Eddie, are not very nice.
“It’s sad for them really. Because they don’t cope with life. [Edina] especially doesn’t cope with life when she hasn’t got money and she hasn’t got some status. These are horrible women. They don’t care about anybody but themselves,” Saunders said.
“Often people say ‘wouldn’t it be great to go out for a drink with Patsy and Eddie?’ And you go, ‘no that would be the worst night of your life’.”
Lumley says Patsy, the drug-addled former model, is awful.
“Patsy can’t even write. She can’t remember anything beyond yesterday. That’s why she relies entirely on Edina. She doesn’t care about anybody. She doesn’t have a kind thought for anybody.”
100,000-pound bet forced Saunders to write AbFab script
Saunders says she was forced into finishing the script for the Absolutely Fabulous film after her comedic partner Dawn French bet her 100,000 pounds on live radio that she would not do it.
“I don’t know why I took it. But it made me write it. Six months in I was panicking, eight months in I was sweating, 10 months in I was really sweating. And I managed to do it in the last month,” she said.
According to Lumley, they had been wanting to make the film for years but the original script was pretty basic.
“It just said blah, blah, blah. It’s always very exciting getting to what we call a script from Jennifer. But it was such a great idea, this idea of killing Kate Moss is so awesome and so funny.”
Saunders forgot to ask Kate Moss if she could kill her on screen
“I didn’t pitch it. I forgot to ask her. I’d sold the film, written it and someone said ‘how’s Kate feel about it?’ And I said ‘I don’t know, I haven’t asked her yet’.”
Naturally, she then sent the supermodel a text message:
“It said: ‘Doing a film, would you like to be in it?’ She said: ‘You better send me a script’, so I sent her the script, she sent it back and said ‘yeah that’s cool’.
“I always thought she’d be cool because I sort of knew her, she’d done stuff with us before in French and Saunders, so I just imagined she’d be cool about it, and she was.”
Joanna Lumley is not running for Mayor of London
Lumley has been approached several times to run for Mayor of London, but she says she has no desire to enter politics.
“If I’d wanted to be a politician I would have started long ago. I couldn’t bear it, I literally couldn’t bear it. I’ve had glimpses over the years into what politicians have to do, it’s a thankless job, everybody hates you for a start. I want to do good to people, but I hope in a way if you’re ever effective, outside politics is better. Inside is too slow.
“Also I want people to agree with me and if they didn’t I’d sack them.”
The purpose of fame is to do good
Lumley led the campaign for Ghurkas who had served in the British Army to be given the right to settle in the UK.
She is also broadly aligned to about 70 other charitable causes, and she says the purpose of fame is to bring attention to such causes.
“As an actor you’ve got nothing to offer. I’m not a doctor, I can’t build houses or things like that, but what you can do is bring whatever fame you have.”
“The perfect example of that was Princess of Wales, because she was there the press went along, so because she was there she was able to shine light on things like landmines, which we’d be trying to do for ages. This is what it’s for. That’s what fame is for.”
Lack of women in film is bad business
Saunders says it is depressing and wrong that women still aren’t paid as much as men in the entertainment business.
“I think commercially they’re wrong. Because when something like Mamma Mia comes out and it becomes the best selling movie of all time and everyone’s shocked but they then don’t try and reproduce that, they go that must have been a one-off. They forget that actually there’s a massive female audience out there that goes to the movies.
“It’s some kind of weird idea of what’s commercial still.”
Watch the interview with Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley on Lateline at 9.30pm (AEST) on ABC News 24 or 10.30pm on ABC TV.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
© 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here.