Arthur the King: Is High Springs a Real Place in Colorado?

Arthur The King

In Simon Cellan Jones’ biographical film ‘Arthur the King,’ we follow a down-on-his-luck adventure racer named Michael Light, who, after failing to win a championship event in 2014, sets his sights on trying to get his hands on the elusive World Championship title. Adapted from Mikael Lindnord‘s memoir ‘Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home,’ the movie transports the primary home of its real-life protagonist from Sweden to one in High Springs, Colorado. After Michael loses out on his championship dreams, he can be seen hiking a trail in High Springs. The lush paradise with mountaintops in the distance seems magical and breathtaking, but it is not a real place!

The Fictional High Springs in Colorado

While the title card suggests that Michael Light’s hiking session occurs in High Springs, Colorado, no such place exists. It’s a fictional region conceived by the screenwriter Michael Brandt. The name High Springs, however, can be traced to a city in Florida. Situated in Alachua County, the city is known as the Gateway of the Springs due to the number of natural springs that can be found around the region.

Though it is unclear whether Brandt used the real High Springs in Florida as an inspiration, the roots of the narrative seem closely tied. It also shouldn’t be overlooked that Colorado itself has a city called Colorado Springs, which is situated around mountain ranges. The distant blue mountaintops seen in Michael’s hiking sessions could have found their basis in the steppe terrain surrounding the city. In ‘Arthur the King,’ a narrative set around jungles, rivers, and mountains, it makes sense for the creators to set Michael’s home close to his spiritual grounding, nature.

With the Southern Rocky Mountains to the West and a cold climate in general, Colorado Springs could have perfectly served as a lensing spot for Michael’s running scenes. The snow covering the mountaintops distinctly dovetails with the fictional locale in the film. However, reports lead us to the conclusion that the film was seemingly never filmed in this real city. The principal photography for ‘Arthur the King’ occurred in the Dominican Republic, especially in the town of Cabrera and the city of Santo Domingo. Judging by an Instagram post put out by Spin VFX, a visual effects company hailing from Toronto, there was confirmation from their part of some involvement in the project.

So, it’s not beyond reason for the production team to have used certain locations in the Dominican Republic as the backdrop for the film, with further augmentation done through visual effects. According to a social media post by the film’s director, Simon Cuellan Jones, it is understood that they were scouting regions like Los Haitises National Park in the Caribbean country. The place is filled with rich flora and fauna and offers striking geological formations. These landscapes serve their objective of making Michael seamlessly embrace his adventurous spirit in the fictional highlands of High Springs, Colorado.

Read more: Arthur the King: The True Story of a Dog’s Odyssey