THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL
About The Production
The Other Boleyn Girl was shot in high definition. Says Justin Chadwick, "We shot 'Bleak House' on HD and really appreciated the different quality it gave to the final look of the film, so I was pleased that Sony was interested in us working on HD again. The huge advantage is that nothing is hidden - you can see every detail. In a close-up you feel you can reach in and touch the actor; you can see into the actor's eyes. It's not the obvious thing for a period movie, but I wanted to capture performances, not do wide shots of the beautiful locations we were using. The film will have its own unique look."
"Shooting in HD gave us a lot of options," says Kristin Scott Thomas. "We could do a lot of takes. Justin was a very generous, very sensitive director, and he gave us the opportunity to make a very passionate film."
Chadwick was determined to shoot as much as possible of The Other Boleyn Girl on location. "If the characters are at home in their real surroundings, it adds to the performances," he explains. In the end, the majority of the film's exterior shots were filmed in real castles and estates throughout England, but for some interior shots, the realistically weathered look that Chadwick envisioned required building sets in the studio. "We did visit lots of the real locations, such as Hever Castle where the Boleyn family lived for a time, but most of those places are now part of the tourist heritage industry and have been cleaned up for visitors. They just don't have the atmosphere they would have had during Henry's reign."
For John-Paul Kelly, the production designer, the initial approach to determining the design of the film was to do research on the Tudor period and to visit potential locations. "At first, I went on the road with Justin and Kieran McGuigan, the director of photography. We drove around possible locations and talked about how the film might look. Justin wanted the look to be relevant, modern, and alive. The Tudor period was incredibly energetic, a time of massive change in the world, and Henry's court was the beginning of the modern Britain we live in now. We wanted to keep the backgrounds alive and vibrant and interesting. Our starting point was to balance period accuracy with creating a modern and exciting story."
To create this unique mood, Kelly searched through old photographs from around the world for inspiration. He found ideas for his representation of the Tudor court in such diverse pictures as street scenes from India and nightclubs from Berlin. Kelly says that while it was important to the filmmakers not to have anachronistic elements in the film, at the same time, they looked for the film to "give you the essence of the period without bogging you down in details. I wanted to reflect the flavor and the excitement of the images that excited us."
Two of the critical settings in the film are the Boleyn family home and Whitehall Palace, the home of Henry's court. To shoot the Whitehall ball sequence, Kelly and his team built large areas of Whitehall Palace across two stages in the George Lucas Building at London's Elstree Studios. The scene is key, according to Kelly, because this is when "the Boleyn sisters experience the full exhilaration of Henry's court for the first time. And of course they both react in different ways; Anne totally buys into that world, and Mary would rather not be there."
Kelly's set highlights the moment. "We wanted a massively long corridor, which gives the scale of the Palace. We wanted the ball to feel more like a party, where you can ramble between rooms, with action in various corners, rather than look like one of those big set piece balls you often see on film. It looks nothing like a Berlin nightclub, but hopefully has that sense of excitement."
Kelly's favorite set was Henry's b
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