Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page

CHILDREN OF MEN

Location
One of the biggest advantages of filming in the U.K. was the omnipresent and infamous English weather. Usually, such an onslaught of gales, storms and biting winds—and the resulting puddles, mud and overcast skies—proves to be a challenge for filmmakers to overcome. But for a story set in a primarily gray vision of the near future, it was heaven-sent.

But location filming is never without challenges, and filming in and around some of London's busiest landmarks proved to be quite a task. With security levels higher than usual due to the terrorist bombings in Central London on July 7, 2005, it seemed that the filmmakers might have been somewhat ambitious with their choices of visually appealing locations. However, months of planning and determination paid off, with the production managing to secure an impressive list of actual (and imminently recognizable) locations in the City of London and Westminster—including Trafalgar Square and Queen Elizabeth II's front garden, St. James's Park.

Locations department head Michael Sharp explains the process in the simplest of terms when he says, "We started by breaking down all the sequences that we needed to get within our small window of time and then worked our way though each stage. Alfonso was determined from day one to have Admiralty Arch and the Household Cavalry [literally the Queen's horsemen] in his movie, which meant a long license process…and lots of veterinary tests to get through!”

Once the locations team studied the script and discussed the general guidelines to the various locales, Sharp and his department scouted for a suitable location, taking into consideration all the logistics presented within the day's shoot. Sharp adds, "Once we settled on the range and the ‘look' of the film, we had to then try and piece all the locations together into a seamless world of 2027.”

That world, as portrayed in Children of Men, is essentially a world without hope for a majority of England's inhabitants—there is a marked and deep divide between the haves and the have-nots. For a majority of the film, moviegoers are taken on Theo's journey through desolate and impoverished communities, with only a few rare glimpses of the wealth displayed on the "other side.” That near-circus-like glimpse is provided when Theo visits his wealthy cousin to obtain Kee's transit papers, and he is driven through the gated park of the sequestered, privileged few—there, the rich are showcased with a parade of domestic and exotic animals, kept as child substitutes and amusing divertissements.

But most of the film is spent in less idyllic surroundings. To find and film in those locations, cast and crew travelled throughout the capital city and up and down the English countryside, braving the elements of winter in some less-than-glamorous locations, including a working farm in Hertfordshire, a disused dockyard in Kent and an army barracks in Hampshire.

To quickly establish time and place, Children of Men opens with a shot of London's Fleet Street (the traditional home of the British press, now more a home to the law, with its courts and legal chambers) with St. Paul's Cathedral visible in the background. But the feeling of familiarity and safety is quickly shattered when a bomb explodes in a coffee shop (a re-dressed pub) seconds after Theo has exited. Viewers know that society is eroding.

Theo's subsequent kidnapping lands him in front of former love Julian in an abandoned warehouse—in actuality, part of the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, Kent, historically significant as a royal dockyard from 1613 to 1984; the yard survives as the most complete example of its kind from the age of sailing.

The Tate Modern, the national gallery of international modern art, doubles as the entrance to the Ministry of Arts, owned by Theo's cousin, Nigel. In the film, Ni

Next Production Note Section

TOP

Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.
Contact CinemaReview.com

2014 8,  All Rights Reserved.

Google

Find:  HELP!

Google