Catherine Zeta-Jones relishing homecoming for Dad's Army film
Published 26/01/2016 | 02:51
Catherine Zeta-Jones said filming the new movie version of TV classic comedy Dad's Army reminded her how much she loves the UK.
Her affection may not have extended to the British weather though as the cast huddled under umbrellas on a damp red carpet at the film's world premiere in Leicester Square.
The Welsh actress, 46, kept all eyes off the rain clouds in her low-cut teal dress as she joined co-stars Toby Jones, Sir Tom Courtenay and Sir Michael Gambon.
Now based in Los Angeles with husband Michael Douglas and their two children, Zeta-Jones said filming it in England was like "coming home to a cup of Ovaltine".
She said: "It was everything I hoped it to be, it was all these great actors, knew their lines, knew what they were doing.
"We were laughing all the way through it and it just reminded me how much I love being in the UK to work and to be with British actors.
"It's nice to come home and this was like coming home to a cup of Ovaltine, nice and cosy."
The big screen version of the Second World War-set BBC sitcom, which ran from 1968-77, sees Zeta-Jones plays journalist Rose Winters, whose arrival in Walmington-on-Sea to report on Captain Mainwaring's (Jones) Home Guard sets pulses racing and proves a distraction while the group try to smoke out a German spy in their midst.
Suddenly the fate of the nation falls in the hands of the Home Guard played by an all-star British cast which also includes Bill Nighy as Sergeant Wilson, Bill Paterson as Frazer, Daniel Mays as Walker and Blake Harrison as Private Pike.
Sir Michael says the set was full of laughter.
"It was nothing but laughing and fooling around. I was mucking around with all of them," he said.
It was not too difficult for Sir Michael to get into character as he said was just like gentle but doddery Private Godfrey, best remembered for perpetually nodding off and being excused for his weak bladder.
He joked: "I'm like Godfrey, I'm always mooching around, I'm not doing anything right, I forget things. If someone says left, I turn right. I'm not very bright up here."
Filming felt like "coming home" for the last two surviving cast members of the original TV version: Frank Williams revives his role as Reverend Timothy Farthing in the new film and Pike actor Ian Lavender has a cameo.
Williams said: "It takes me back to a very happy time in my life when I was doing Dad's Army originally and as my scenes are in the church hall, it was very much like coming home again."
Lavender admitted he was jealous of the new Pike, who not only has a girlfriend in the new film, but, he discovered, gets to share a kiss with Zeta-Jones.
"Blake kept that one quiet from me! If they'd have put that in my script, I'd have done it for half the money," he laughed.
All the cast acknowledged the risk involved in remaking such an well-loved show - which can still attract three million viewers for TV repeats - but hope it will introduce a new audience to the characters.
" I think it's so touching and heart warming it'll inspire a whole new generation of lovers of Dad's Army," Zeta-Jones said.
The film is out in UK cinemas on February 5.