Sunday, 26 August 2018

LeadLog: The Crimson Petal and the White Deleted Scene

I'm sure readers of this blog will remember well the 4-part BBC2 serial The Crimson Petal and the White from 2011 which surprised us with a number of topless scenes by its star Romola Garai.

One of Romola Garai's scenes
But it transpires that there was another scene filmed with nudity featuring a pair of speaking-part actresses that didn't make it to the televised version but which can be seen on the DVD release in the form of a deleted scene with the title The Twins of Drury Lane.

The scene in question is a much abbreviated interpretation of one that appears in the novel upon which the serial is based.  Early on in the 2002 novel by Michel Faber there is a chapter in which William Rackham (played by Chris O'Dowd in the dramatisation) visits a cheap Drury Lane brothel.  This is in Part 1 of the book entitled: The Streets in which William Rackman is seeking to satisfy certain carnal urges and chooses a house in which the Madame advertises her pair of charges as being twins - but he soon discovers to his disappointment that they are not so related.

Excerpt quote from Page 71 in Chapter Four ...
Finally the time arrives for William Rackham to be shown upstairs.  Claire and Alice's room, when he enters it, is small and square ....<snip>.... Claire and Alice, dressed in plain white chemises, are sitting together on the bed, pretty little hands folded in their laps.
"'Ow d'you do, sir,' they welcome him in unison"
But, unison or not, it's obvious they aren't twins.

In the book William is displeased by the deception but makes the most of it and there follows a lengthy sex scene spanning several pages which ends when he requests they do a certain (unspecified to the reader) something that they both refuse to do but suggest he instead try a high-class prostitute from another establishment called Sugar who, it is said, will accommodate any unusual requirements.
The whole scene, in which Claire and Alice have much more dialogue, serves to set William on a course where he will meet Sugar (Romola Garai's character).

None of this featured in the TV adaptation and William meets Sugar by other means.

DVD Cover
However on the DVD release there is a deleted scene featuring those "twin" characters which shows that the production went as far as filming a version of the scene, albeit in an abridged form.  In the filmed scene William enters their room where the two young women are sitting on the bed (as in the book).  He immediately spots they look nothing alike and asserts they are not twins to which accusation they raise their chemises to show him their breasts (as if that will somehow convince him otherwise).  He storms out in a fit of pique at having wasted his money and they look at each other perplexed by his reaction.
Deleted Scene

They only have one line of jointly spoken dialogue; their names are not mentioned; they do not have a sex scene with him; and they do not point him towards Sugar.  Since it is clearly a version of the scene from the book, which occurs early on, it was probably written to be part of the first episode. But because the scene didn't make the final cut and neither of the characters feature in any other scenes, the actresses involved are not listed in the programme's end credits.  Had the scene appeared in the broadcast episode then presumably they would have been credited.

Although both actresses in the deleted scene are unidentified it proved moderately easy to identify one of them.  The actress sitting on the right of the picture is Karina Cornwell.  This identification was possible because she listed her involvement in the serial on a casting website page which was findable in a search.  It is similarly listed on her Spotlight page which can be reached via the link given on her IMDB page (although the "" part is now superseded to just "" for it to now work).  Her CV on these sources indicates the role she played was "Alice" which tallies with the book's character names even though it wasn’t heard being used in the filmed scene.  This is further verified by her profile photos recognisably matching with the "twin" seen on the right of the picture.  And for further avoidance of doubt her acting showreel includes the very sequence under discussion taken from the DVD deleted scene.  This showreel can be found on Vimeo and the scene appears at around the 1 minute mark.
(L) Unidentified; and (R) Karina Cornwell
The other actress who was playing (by elimination) "Claire" remains unidentified.  It seems quite possible that she, like her companion, is also a proper actress (as opposed to being a model), but if so there is no indication of an involvement that I've been able to find on any accessible online resource.


I would be interested in hearing any ID suggestions for the second actress.

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