|Translated from German:
Medieval film is done in Blankenburg. Hollywood director Christopher Smith is filming "Black Death"
by Simone Andrea Mayer, 12.05.09, 16:14h, aktualisiert 12.05.09, 16:38h
Blankenburg/dpa. Left and right of the way corpses are piling up. Bloody footsoles protrude from blankets, emaciated bodies, covered with boils, sit beside them on the muddy ground. These are bad times for the land. In the 14th century the plague spreads throughout Europe and carries off whole village populations. Hollywood director Christopher Smith has created just such a dark, empty place on the Blankenburg in the Harz as scenery for the feature film. Filming for the medieval thriller "Black Death" goes on in the medieval castle until the start of June with the Hollywood stars Sean Bean ("Lord of the Rings") and Eddie Redmayne.
The new production doesn't come out of a blue sky - Sachsen-Anhalt is more and more frequently chosen as a location for feature films. Last Novembre Söhnke Wortmann filmed "The Popess" at castle Querfurt, before that Til Schweiger was in Blankenburg for his "1 1/2 knights".
«There isn't a better place in Europe for filming a medieval film", says producer Jens Meurer. One reason is the many castles and palaces, a second the special financial support for the shooting of a film. Meurer got for «Black Death» a "small seven digit sum" of developement funds from the Investment bank of the country, the "Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung" and the "Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg". «We film here of course not only out of love for the region, but because it functions better here". says Meurer.
The filmed material is mainly worked over in Halle, and most of the locations are in Sachsen-Anhalt. Additionally, the Harzers can play a part as extras in the film, and also regarding the content Sachsen-Anhalt plays a role. The torturers in the film come from Magdeburg. "The region is the film" says Meurer, whose production company «Egoli Tossell Film» has its seat in Halle..
But the Blankenburg itself won't be seen in the film at the end, only her castle walls, which are covered during the filming with dirt and straw and where it smells of manure and smoke. In reality, the Blankenburg is a pleasant place. The sky is blue, the sun is shining. The people here are very friendlich, very pleasant", says actor Sean Bean.
Exactly these pleasant surroundings confronted the film team with a challenge."You prepare yourself for a medieval film and you don't await, that the sun shines, that the fields are green and the sky is blue". says co-producer Phil Robertson. His leading actor Bean takes the good weather with humour. "We were lucky after all, because we had also a few grey days during filming - that is perfect for the film"
Apart from Blankenburg locations are also Wernigerode and Quedlinburg, as well as in the Bodetal and in Brandenburg. "Black Death" is suppost to come into cinemas worldwide an the beginning of 2010.
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