‘Absolutely Fabulous‘ to Remain Fabulous, Absolute in a Feature Film
Before Broad City captured the hearts of America’s #millennials with its down-to-earth depiction of two galpals’ riotous (and frequently drug-fueled) misadventures in New York, the BBC’s Absolutely Fabulous blazed a trail with a different, slightly more reprehensible pair of besties. Known by true fans as Ab Fab, the sitcom dared to submit a pair of pill-popping, nip-slugging, freely vindictive and unrestrainedly malicious adult women as comic heroines. The crazy part was that it worked: the show amassed a considerable cult following during its original run in the early ‘90s, returned for a six-episode stint in 2001 and then eight more in 2003, a handful of specials, and a four-episode revival series in 2012. Undeniably evidencing the enduring need for deliciously bitchy one-liners, Ab Fab has been resurrected for one more go, this time on the silver screen.
Fox Searchlight and BBC Films excitedly announced today that an feature-length Ab Fab film has commenced principal photography in the south of France. The film will reunite co-creator Jennifer Saunders with her erstwhile partner-in-crime — sometimes in the fun way, sometimes literally — Joanna Lumley as Edith Monsoon and Patsy Stone (née Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone), respectively. Together, the two aging yet ineluctably stylish women chased their fading youth by clinging to whatever harebrained trend might have in vogue at a given moment and rubbing elbows with the cream of the art and fashion worlds. Always ready with a handy cigarette, cocktail, or acidic put-down, Joanna and Patsy spent years scheming against their competitors for men, fame, or just a nice waistcoat, and audiences couldn’t get enough.
The upcoming film places Edith and Patsy at the center of a media imbroglio in the wake of a mortifying stunt at a high-profile launch party, necessitating a brief jet-set out of London. They flee to the Riviera, determined not to let their poor social graces and precarious proximity to complete bankruptcy stop them from living the lifestyle of the rich and the famous. It’ll be curious to see how this creative concept functions in today’s pop-cultural landscape; Ab Fab will enter a world far different than it left, due in no small part to its own influence. The likes of Amy Schumer, Chelsea Handler, and Kathy Griffin have finely honed the hard-drinking-yet-irrepressibly-witty party girl type, so it’ll be up to Edith and Patsy to revitalize the land they once cleared. And then salt it, once they’re finished.