Dame Maggie Smith filmed scenes for her forthcoming dramatic comedy The Lady in the Van in Broadstairs, England, on Thursday.

Maggie Smith Films ‘Lady in the Van’

In The Lady in the Van, Smith, 79, plays the eccentric Miss Shepherd, an elderly homeless woman who lives out of a van. The movie is based off of Alan Bennett’s autobiographical West End play of the same name, which explores his relationship with the cantankerous woman who’d parked her yellow van in the driveway of Bennett’s North London home.

Alex Jennings is playing Bennett in the BBC movie that closely follows the playwright’s journal entries that detailed his relationship with Miss Shepherd. According to Bennett’s journal, Shepherd was “’Nearly six foot, she was a commanding figure and would have been more so had she not been kitted out in greasy raincoat, orange skirt, Ben Hogan golfing cap and carpet slippers,” reported the Daily News.

He was moved to let Miss Shepherd park her van in his driveway after witnessing the abuse she suffered from drunks and young children, but soon came to regret the decision. “It made me furious that I had been driven to such a pass,” the writer admitted. “But I wanted a quiet life as much as, and possibly more than, she did. In the garden she was at least out of harm’s way.”

For The Lady in the Van’s screen adaptation, Nicholas Hytner has been tapped to direct. Hytner previously adapted Bennett’s The History Boys. Into the Woods actor James Cordon, who played Timms in the critically-acclaimed film, will have a cameo in The Lady in the Van.

The Lady in the Van, which is slated to premiere Nov. 13, 2015, also stars Dominic Cooper, Jim Broadbent and Roger Allam.

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