Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley reunite in sweary ‘Wicked Little Letters’

By Thomson Reuters Feb 21, 2024 | 5:03 AM

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) – Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley play two very different neighbours in new film “Wicked Little Letters”, a comedy mystery based on a real life British scandal from the 1920s, which saw people receiving expletive-laden notes.

Set in an English seaside town, the movie follows Colman’s pious and conservative Edith and Buckley’s loud and rowdy Irish migrant Rose as they become friends.

When Edith starts receiving anonymous poison pen letters, Rose is arrested and charged with the crime. Other locals begin receiving similar letters, causing a national uproar and ensuing trial.

“I think because of the poison pen letters, the obvious parallel is modern day trolling on a much bigger scale,” Colman told Reuters of the movie, in a joint interview with Buckley.

“There’s also a parallel between the perception of what a woman should be.”

The cast includes Timothy Spall as Edith’s stern father Edward and Anjana Vasan as police officer Gladys Moss, who unlike her male superiors, suspects something is amiss and rallies other women to investigate who the real letter writer is.

The film is based on real events that happened in the town of Littlehampton.

“This is true. It was debated in parliament and the newspapers did all cover it, and the whole nation was gripped, Who could possibly be using swearwords like that?” Colman said, adding it was “quite hard to not giggle” on set when some of the letters’ profane and absurd language was read out.

Buckley said working with Oscar-winning Colman was one of appeals of joining the cast. Both starred in 2021 drama “The Lost Daughter”.

“It was just the subversion of what you think a British period drama is and these two women that are on either side of a coin who are actually similar in many ways but go on a journey of expressing what they need to express,” she added.

Asked if as celebrities it was hard not to read comments about them online, Colman said: “Neither of us are on social media… I think I would care (what people wrote) and that’s why I don’t want to know. I’m not thick skinned enough to cope with that.”

“I don’t really want anybody knowing anything about my private life, they see enough of me,” Buckley added.

“Wicked Little Letters” is released in UK cinemas from Friday.

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)