LOS ANGELES, (Diya TV) — We spoke with director Emma Holly Jones and the romantic leads, Freida Pinto and Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, about this lovely and charming new Regency era romantic comedy, Mr. Malcolm’s List.

Something that sets this film apart is the diversity of the cast, and while that shouldn’t be something surprising, there have been very few period piece films/shows that feature the diversity that actually existed at the time. In preparation for the film, director Emma Holly Jones asked the question, what did England actually look like in 1818? She tells us that, “The truth is, it was a lot more diverse than any movie, tv show, has ever painted it to be.” Jones went on to say, how as a filmmaker it matters how one chooses to present a story. 

“I can do this film, this way, and not only can I do it just as a beautiful rom com in a fantasy world – there is also a lot of truth embedded into how we designed the film, how we looked at the film, and once we put these actors in their places. There is a lot of art and a lot of material out there that actually nods to a much richer society than I think films have previously shown us.”

Freida Pinto explains what drew her to the film is that she has, “always fantasized about being… in a romantic period drama ”. After hearing the director’s vision, inspired by the representation in Hamilton, Pinto says “that immediately was a draw” to be part of Mr Malcolm’s List

It can be hard to imagine something if one has never seen it. Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù explains, “I never expected in my career to get the opportunity to play a leading role in a romantic period comedy. I hadn’t seen it done before and that limited my imagination for what is possible in my career.” Dìrísù goes on to explain how once the director and casting director, “showed me a peak of what the other side of the curtain looks like, I wanted to throw that door right open and I hope we have done, with this film.”

When will we get to a point where we don’t question the ethnicity of leading characters? When will it just be normal to have the diversity that exists all around us be reflected in the movies and shows we watch?

Freida points out, “It feels like there is no need to justify why we’re in this film because people of color existed in England during that time, and really, if this is a piece of fiction, then as Sope reminded me, what Emma (director) always said, was that she wanted to represent a London then, with the the London that is now. What it looks like now, and so for me, in many ways it felt really normal. I’m still wondering if at any point in time, did it really feel normal or did it ever jar me? And I don’t think it ever did.”

Watch the full interview: https://youtu.be/QqIFSiNa38o

Mr. Malcolm’s List will be available to watch on demand starting on Thursday, July 21st.