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KING ARTHUR

Design And Costumes
It was imperative for Bruckheimer, Fuqua, and Franzoni that, in telling this mythmaking chapter in the life of King Arthur, all details would ring true to the period and the place. With that in mind, the set locations were sourced throughout Ireland in the counties of Kildare and Wicklow; the set detail was fine-tuned to 5th Century Britain; very little Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) was used to replicate historical locations; and the costumes were designed to reflect the fashions of the day.

"We were always trying to base it on true historical evidence as much as possible,” says Jerry Bruckheimer. "In recreating the Battle at Badon Hill, it was imperative that we recreate it as best as we know how. Since this was the Dark Ages, there was not much written about it, but based on the information that we had and with our set designers, our cinematographer, and with our stunt co-ordinators, we worked out a way to photograph it that hopefully will show the way it actually happened.”

To corroborate the true-to-life emphasis of the script, the priority in terms of the production design of ‘King Arthur' was realism. This was to be a set that reflected the harsh naturalism of 5th Century Britain, with the major pieces constructed to exacting detail. Central to production design was Hadrian's Wall, the massive man-made division between Roman Britain and the barbarian North that stretched for 73 miles across the country, from Wallsend-on-Tyne in the East to Bownesson- Solway in the West.

To prepare to build the largest set ever built in Ireland, Antoine Fuqua and production designer Dan Weil traveled to the north of England to study the real Hadrian's Wall. From the outset both men were intent on relying on as little Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) as possible. Their Hadrian's Wall, which is featured in over 50% of the movie, was going to be real. "It had to be real,” says Antoine Fuqua. "Everybody relies so much on CGI; we wanted to do whatever we could so that when the actors walked on the set, they could feel the reality. I wanted people to walk on the wall and I wanted to be able to put the camera up there.”

The recreation of Hadrian's Wall was built in Ballymore Eustace, County Kildare. This life-sized version of Hadrian's Wall is 950 metres long and 35 feet high at its highest points. It is a double-sided structure featuring a 10-foot-wide walkway on top allowing the soldiers to patrol the wall. The structure is also punctuated with a series of turrets and incorporates a massive military fortress, home to both Roman legionnaires and local Britons. Its enormous main gate is 20 feet wide and 16 feet high. "The detail starts at the beginning of the wall and finishes at the end,'' says Dan Weil.

At the peak of its construction, the crew working on the wall totaled 300. By mid-July, 2003, both the wall and the fortress were complete and the cameras moved in. The fortress is an amalgam of various designs, and is essentially an army barracks, complete with the infrastructure that such a compound requires including shops, inns, market stalls, and residential quarters.

Assiduous attention to detail was paramount in all aspects of the set design. In addition to the Hadrian's Wall set, two Native villages were built in their entirety in Glenmalure, County Wicklow: one on the top of a mountain and one, the Marius estate, in a valley. Real thatch was used for the cottages and real stone was used in the construction of the peasant dwellings. "Any time we could use material that existed at the time, we did,'' says Dan Weil.

The centerpiece of the knights' hall was the legendary round table: a symbol of equality and egalitarianism. It is 28 feet in diameter with a space in the middle to accommodate a brazier. Forty seats circle the table, whose surface is made

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