Kingdom of Heaven Filming in Avila, aviladigital.com (Spain), February 3, 2004
translated by Silke
Ridley Scott finishes today the filming in the capital of Avila
Avila, the scene of the coronation of the King of Jerusalem in The Kingdom of Heaven
"Silence, please, we’re filming", called the production assistants in front
of the Cathedral to the hundreds of watchers, who, behind the barriers tried to
make out some famous faces among the soldiers, lawyers and noble people, faces
such as Jeremy Irons or Eva Green, who are acting out The Kingdom
of Heaven, a movie which is currently being filmed in Avila by famous British
director Ridley Scott. The production, we are informed by the team, is going like
clockwork, matching the time plan. The three days of filming in Avila will
result in only three minutes on the screen in the movie which will come out in
autumn of 2005 in the USA.
Queen Douoghus, spokesman for the production team explained that the Cathedral
of Avila was transformed, thanks to the tapestries and armours,
into a temple of Jerusalem, where the coronation ceremony of the young king
of the Holy City Jerusalem is held. "God save the King", shouted the actors
involved in the scene in the interior of the temple, while the decoration
assistants spread out hundreds of kilos of sand opposite the cathedral, so to
convert the streets into authentic streets of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, security
guards had to ensure the surroundings to make sure that no fans and press enter.
The streets around the cathedral were blocked from all vehicles.
Ridley Scott, an artist
Ridley Scott alraedy knew the Cathedral of Avila, he had been there
before, and so he knew about its majestic beauty. The British director discovered
the Castle of Loarre (Huesca) while he had been searching locations to film
his 1492 Conquest of Paradise. "Ridley Scott is more than a movie director,
he is an artist and chooses the locations for every film he is making. When he
finds a location he likes, but knows it will not serve him for the present
movie, he might get back to it for a future project." The production team consists of
about 350 people including technicians and actors.
In the scenes shot yesterday in the cathedral only two of the actors
were present, Jeremy Irons and Eva Green, besides dozens of second actors and
150 extras, dressed up as soldiers, priests and noblemen. After filming the
coronation scene inside the cathedral the extras went out to go on filming
the entrance of the bishops, noblemen, dames and knights who had been called to
assist the coronation.
Ridley Scott, behind the camera
During this shot which was repeated several times, Ridley Scott could be
seen behind the camera, giving orders to his assistants to place the extras or
asking the translators to tell the hundreds of actors who
formed a row in front of the Cathedral to straighten their banners, talk among themselves, or
come closer to the camera.
Dozens of schoolchildren and even groups of students at the University of
Salamanca had decided not to attend their classes but come to see, if only for
some seconds, Orlando Bloom, famous Legolas from the Lord of the Rings.
Nevertheless, Orlando Bloom did not participate in any of the scenes which were
shot inside the cathedral, although he had been shooting yesterday in the
pilgrim camp near the celtic castle of Las Cagotas.
During the filming on monday, the actor Liam Neeson suffered a fall, which
left a slight injury on his forehead. Some of the stunt doubles that replaced the main actors in the horse scenes were also
lightly injured while shooting the riding scenes because of the uneven ground.
The Celtic fort was the scene of the adventures of Orlando Bloom and Liam
Neeson, with his group of followers in the Crusades, when they pass by a camp
of wanderers, they direct them to the Holy City.
Today the filming ends
Today, before leaving for Cordoba, the filming team will finish some
interior shots of the cathedral, in which David Thewlis representing Saladin, a
muslum prince, will appear. For this occasion, the interior of the cathedral
had been changed once more.
The filming will take 17 weeks, as had been planned. After six weeks of
intense filming in Spain, in the castle of Loarre, in Huesca, Segovia, and in
Avila, the team of The Kingdom of Heaven will move on to Morocco, where the
filming will be finished. Still, the team will have another three weeks in our
country, filming in Cordoba, where the filming inside the mezquita has been
forbidden, and in Palma del Río, from where they will set out for Seville in
order to film in the Alcázar and in the Casa of Pilatos for another twelve
In Morocco, they are supposed to film for another 11 weeks in the desert of
the Sahara, where the production has recreated the city of Jerusalem and
where the major part of the cinematographic action will take place.
The astronomic cost of a super-production
Queen Douoghus stated that the total cost of this project "will be, as the
rest, a secret" although he assured that the production is one of the most
expensive super-productions of the north american company. The investment is
calculated around a 100 million dollars.
After finishing in Avila, the team will move to the location Palacio de los
Portocarreros in the surroundings of Granada.
The movie is based on a novel written by William Monahan, which tells the
story of a young blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) who finds himself involved in
several conflicts that lead him to defend Jerusalem of an invasion of the
"heathen", during the crusades of the 12th century.
Bloom, bastard son of Liam Neeson rejects the aspirations of his father to
accompany him to the crusades and is imprisoned. A love story between Eva Green
and Orlando Bloom is also included. In the Kingdom of Heaven appear other
actors such as David Thewlis, Kevin McKidd and Juoko Ahoa.
Ridley Scott became famous with the direction of Alien, The eighth
Passenger, Blade Runner and was awarded an Oscar as best producer for Thelma and
Louise. His most recent and famous productions are Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and