We bring you the facts about the highly anticipated sequel…

In 2012 THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL hit cinemas and battled against THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and AVENGERS ASSEMBLE to become one of the highest grossing movies of the year… Now the cast are back for a second helping. Boasting the most experienced cast you’ll find in cinemas this month, we’ve put together some 5 star trivia on the movie.

SLEEPER HIT
The first movieTHE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL was a surprise smash hit around the world. It was one of 2012’s most successful movies, grossing nearly $137 million worldwide.

NAME CHANGE
The first movie originally had a much longer title ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly & Beautiful’, which turned out to be a bit of a mouthful. It was based on a novel called ‘These Foolish Things’ by Deborah Moggach. Eagle-eyed viewers might notice Penelope Wilton’s character reading one of the author’s other novels in the movie.

THE GANG’S ALL HERE
Most of the original cast from the first film have returned to the retirement home in the sequel. From youngest to oldest they are Celia Imrie (age 62), Bill Nighy (age 65), Penelope Wilton (age 68), Ron Pickup (age 74), Maggie Smith (age 80) and Judi Dench (age 80).

19 DAYS OLDER
In the trailer, Evelyn (Judi Dench) claims Muriel (Maggie Smith) is only 19 days older than her. This is a true fact, there really is just 19 days between the two actresses with Maggie Smith born on December 28th 1934 and Dame Judi Dench born on the 9th of December 1934. Don’t they look great for their age?

A WINNING TEAM
Between them, the cast and crew have been nominated for a whopping 15 Oscars. Out of those, 8 have won.

NEW ADDITIONS
Joining the guests at the Marigold hotel is Hollywood star Richard Gere and UK actress Tasmin Greig (known for BLACK BOOKS and EPISODES). At one stage Colin Firth and Helen Mirren were rumoured to join the cast. Richard Gere & Colin Firth in a retirement home? Now we’re starting to feel old!

REAL LIFE COUPLES
Bill Nighy (Douglas) and Penelope Wilton (Jean) previously played husband and wife on screen in 2004’s SHAUN OF THE DEAD’, while Tom Wilkinson (Graham in the first EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTELmovie) was married to Diana Hardcastle (Carol) in real life.

MOVIE INSPIRATION
Author Deborah Moggach said she was inspired to write the original story when thinking about her own retirement. She wrote in originals press notes “We’re living too long and we’re going to bankrupt our economy. Mulling this over, I had an idea: We outsource everything else, so why not outsource the elderly? India struck me as the perfect place. It’s warm – very good for arthritic bones; it’s cheap; English is widely spoken; old people are treated with respect there and are part of society, not shunted off into care homes” Mogach went on to reveal that fact is following fiction. With retirement homes starting to spring up in developing countries like India, the Philippines – just as her book predicted.

SEQUEL SURPRISE
Actor Bill Nighy revealed in a recent interview that he never expected there to be a sequel to the original movie; “I certainly didn’t think it was going to do what it did.  It took hundreds of millions of dollars, and it’s a beautiful thing,  The sequel script is very, very good.  It’s not some sequel.  It’s a really cool script.  Ol Parker, who writes them, is a brilliant man, and John Madden is going to direct again.  He’s a wonderful, brilliant director.  It’s a fantastic thing.  I’m really pleased.  There have been a few movies since then, of similar age range, which it’s inspired.  It will be great.  It will be nice to go back to Rajasthan.  The first time is such a shock, so it will be quite nice to go back a second time”.

THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is at Irish cinemas from February 26th 2015