Jennifer Saunders had 'great deal' of input over Patrick character

Jennifer Saunders wanted her character to wear a fat suit and a wig.

Jennifer Saunders had a "great deal to say" about her character in new movie Patrick.

Jennifer's daughter Beattie Edmondson stars as Sarah in the new family comedy, about a teacher who is bequeathed a badly-behaved pug named Patrick by her grandmother after she dies.

The Absolutely Fabulous star has a small role as Sarah's co-worker, complete with fat suit and mousy brown wig. She generally appears in the staff room scenes, where she tries to push sweet treats on her fellow teachers, and director Mandie Fletcher has admitted those elements were all Jennifer's idea.

"We talked about her being that sort of chef-y woman who feeds and eats and has to feed everybody all the time," Mandie told WENN/Cover Media at the film's London premiere. "But yes, she always has a great deal to say about her character."

When asked if the 59-year-old needed much convincing to take on the part, Mandie replied, "Noooo, not if she can wear a fat suit and a wig! She'll be there!"

The filmmaker explained that the comedienne just came up with the idea one day. She recalled her saying, "I'll think I'll just wear a fat suit and a wig", to which Mandie responded, "Okaaay".

The director has been friends with Jennifer for years, having directed episodes of Absolutely Fabulous and its 2016 movie. Accordingly, she has known her Patrick leading lady, Beattie, since she was a teenager.

When asked what made the 31-year-old the right fit for the role, Mandie replied, "I've known Beattie since she was 17 and I've worked with her, she's got all those qualities her mother has, I mean, she's got naturally funny bones, she's down-to-earth...

"We don't make many films like this and there aren't many women who can do this sort of part. All thanks to Disney that they endorsed a relative unknown to do the part, but she's fantastic in it."

Patrick, released by Disney under its Buena Vista International label, is in cinemas now.

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