Jim Broadbent On ‘The Sense Of An Ending… by Uinterview

English actor Jim Broadbent identified strongly with his character in the new film The Sense of an Ending. “I can remember at my school that I was part of a clique that thought we were the bee’s knees,” Broadbent told uInterview exclusively. “And I’ve known people like Tony all of my life, and there’s an awful lot of me that’s similar to Tony, so I recognize the character. And particularly I recognize his awkwardness as a youth, and the mistakes that we all make when we’re young men. And one of the things I like about the film, as a grown-up we continue to make mistakes sometimes.”

Directed by Ritesh Batra, the drama movie is based on the novel by the same name, written by Julian Barnes. The movie tells the mysterious tale of business owner Tony Webster (Broadbent), who is haunted by his past. Webster encounters a letter and diary that reunites him with his first love (Charlotte Rampling), which forces him to confront the past.

Jim Broadbent ‘Sense of an Ending’ Video Interview

Describing his character Tony, Broadbent stated, “He’s a retired man, as a hobby he’s got a specialist camera shop, and he seems to be quite pleased with his life, and he’s now divorced, and living on his own, and he seems quite self-satisfied, and then he gets a mysterious legacy from the mother of his first girlfriend. This throws him into an investigation of why he’s got this legacy and what his relationship with his first girlfriend was, and he finally gets in touch with her.”

The film explores the topics of memory, unreliable narrators, and exploring one’s history. “It’s a film about memory, and unreliable memory, and how we tell lies to ourselves, really, about our past,” Broadbent reflects. “It’s that journey from being apparently at ease with himself, and then discovering that he’s not all as he had thought it was. The past is flawed and rather mysterious, and he goes back into that.”

The cast showcased a strong female presence, with Harriet Walter playing Broadbent’s ex-wife in the film. “We’ve worked together quite a lot, and we’ve been husband and wife three times. So that was a very natural and easy way to work,” the actor said. ” We went to college together, we know exactly how we work together. It’s very easy.”

The role was not without it’s challenges, however. “He more difficult relationship in the film is the relationship that Tony Webster has with Veronica, played by Charlotte Rampling, and that was fascinating because I’m quite in awe of Charlotte,” Broadbent noted. “She’s  on such amazing films and she’s such a great actress. So it’s quite useful that I’m in awe of her, and found her not quite intimidating, but it was a challenge that fit quite well with the relationship that Tony has with Veronica in the film. So that was very exciting to have that. She’s delightful, Charlotte. “It was quite useful to tap into my awkwardness.”

Broadbent has won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Iris in 2001, and the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Lord Longford in the drama Longford in 2006.

The Sense of an Ending premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on January 2, 2017. It is scheduled for release in the U.S. on March 10, 2017.

Check out the trailer below:


Q: What is the story behind your character Tony? -

Yes he's a retired man, as a hobby he's got a specialist camera shop, and he seems to be quite pleased with his life, and he's now divorced, and living on his own, and he seems quite self-satisfied, and then he gets a mysterious legacy from the mother of his first girlfriend. This throws him into an investigation of why he's got this legacy and what his relationship with his first girlfriend was, and he finally gets in touch with her. It's a film about memory, and unreliable memory, and how we tell lies to ourselves, really, about our past. It's unreliable history. It's that journey from being apparently at ease with himself, and then discovering that he's not all as he had thought it was. The past is flawed and rather mysterious, and he goes back into that.

Q: What was it like to work with this strong female cast? -

Certainly working with Harriet Walter, who plays my ex-wife, we've worked together quite a lot, and we've been husband and wife three times. So that was a very natural and easy way to work. We went to college together, we know exactly how we work together. It's very easy. The more difficult relationship in the film is the relationship that Tony Webster has with Veronica, played by Charlotte Rampling, and that was fascinating because I'm quite in awe of Charlotte. She's got such a wonderful CV. She's on such amazing films and she's such a great actress. So it's quite useful that I'm in awe of her, and found her not quite intimidating, but it was a challenge that fit quite well with the relationship that Tony has with Veronica in the film. So that was very exciting to have that. She's delightful, Charlotte. It was quite useful to tap into my awkwardness.

Q: Did you personally connect with your character? -

Well the whole character, really. We're exactly the same age, we have the similar sort of cultural background. I can remember at my school that I was part of a clique that thought we were the bee's knees. And I've known people like Tony all of my life, and there's an awful lot of me that's similar to Tony, so I recognize the character. And particularly I recognize his awkwardness as a youth, and the mistakes that we all make when we're young men. And one of the things I like about the film, as a grown-up we continue to make mistakes sometimes.