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THE DAVINCI CODE

The Look of The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code filmed at a number of locations throughout Europe and at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios, where several sets were built.

Although the production did shoot at the Louvre in Paris, it was essential to rebuild the Grand Galerie in a studio so that a majority of the action could unfold in a more controlled environment, and away from the masterpieces at the actual museum. To this end, production designer Allan Cameron constructed sections of the museum on the "James Bond” stage at Pinewood Studios just outside of London. "I knew from the very beginning that we were going to build a small part of the Louvre on a stage,” Cameron says. "But when we went to the Louvre, we were worried about damaging the floors, as well as any of the priceless paintings.

After a couple of visits to Paris, we decided to build even more of the museum on the stages at Pinewood, which from my point of view was much more fun than shooting on location. My scenic artist, James Gemmill, had to paint 150 paintings that required careful measurement at the real Louvre. We even had marble samples created to match the marbles around the skirtings and around the windows. Finally, floor boarding was constructed by my carpenter using wood veneers to approximate the floor in the Grand Galerie. They were then photographed and printed onto plastic sheets and laid on the floor.”

Cameron explains that all the paintings that were reproduced were digitally photographed, then blown up and painted over, sometimes projected on the wall and painted by Gemmill. "James painted them all like the original paintings. He knows all about glazes and crackle techniques. So the actual surface of the paintings looks pretty realistic.”

Adds James Gemmill (Head Scenic Artist) on the texture of the painting reproductions that he created: "I tried to pay attention to all the textures of the paintings. We can't paint using the exact techniques, but the textures are important. That's the difference between looking at a movie and seeing a painting on a wall and realizing that it's a print rather than a painting. When the light is reflected off it, you can see the texture, so it's important to get it right.”

A number of other sets were also built at Shepperton Studios in the southwest of London, including the interior of Saint-Sulpice and a number of rooms inside Château Villette, where Leigh Teabing resides. "We wanted to use the real château in the story and we were lucky enough to get permission to shoot there,” says Cameron. "But the library, kitchen and study were built on the stage. They were interesting sets to build and dress since they include a significant amount of props.”

"Obviously, we based the architecture of the set pieces on the architecture in the real château,” Cameron continues, "the beautiful carvings, mouldings and cornices. We took all the dressing out of the real château and put in our own so that it looked more like Teabing's residence. As we move into the study and library, which is his den, it reflects his character and we designed many of the props with Teabing in mind.”

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