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Jim Broadbent: Streamers 'have changed everything' in the British film industry

The stars of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry share their thoughts on the changing cinema industry

Watch: Jim Broadbent and Penelope Wilton reflect on changing film industry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry star Jim Broadbent knows more than most about British film. The Oscar-winning actor — recognised around the world for his roles in Harry Potter, Moulin Rouge! and Paddington — has long been a supporter of the industry, and has recently noticed that things are changing.

“I tend to approach the industry as it always was; wait for the jobs to come through,” he tells Yahoo UK.

“But then you realise the whole difference – that the streaming companies, Netflix and Amazon and Apple and Disney, have changed everything.

“I did a film with Amazon. They built huge new soundstages, paying huge amounts for the sets. And the crews are running out – we're running out of crews to make all the films and the TV series.”

Read more: Should there be another Harry Potter series?

It’s not only Broadbent who has seen the British film industry change. Dame Penelope Wilton, who stars alongside the actor in the new release The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, an adaptation of Rachel Joyce’s bestseller, says that streaming has brought work to the UK.

Jim Broadbent and Penelope Wilton star in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. (eOne)
Jim Broadbent and Penelope Wilton star in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. (eOne)

“It’s good that there's so much work coming here,” she explains. However, she’s cautious about how these companies are changing our viewing experience.

“I've noticed that people do watch things in a much more solitary way than they used to,” Wilton continues.

“I've always thought, when you go and see a film you go in as individuals, and you come out as a community, because you have all watched the same thing at the same time and you've had the same experience.

Read more: Is HBO Max coming to the UK?

“The demise of cinemas and the smaller screens, it really does take away from a lot of the films. I think seeing a film in a cinema makes all the difference, seeing it with a group of people rather than in your own sitting room.

Watch a trailer for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

“I think bring back the cinema! These Picturehouses are doing a wonderful job because they're making it an experience.

"So you can go and you can have a drink, but let's not forget that there's a big screen there and we can all enjoy it together.”

Broadbent and Wilton’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, produced and filmed in the UK and heading only to cinemas, sees the pair play a husband and wife duo from Devon.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Dame Penelope Wilton, Jim Broadbent and dog Harry attend a Gala Screening of
Dame Penelope Wilton, Jim Broadbent and dog Harry attend a screening of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. (Dave Benett/WireImage)

Broadbent’s titular character, Harold Fry, unexpectedly starts walking to Northumberland, after hearing that a friend has entered the late stages of cancer.

Meanwhile, Wilton’s Maureen Fry struggles to understand why Harold would go on such a journey.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is in cinemas from 28 April.

Watch: Author Rachel Joyce talks modern Britain