Created by Leonardo Fasoli and Maddalena Ravagli, Netflix’s ‘Django’ is a modern-day reimagining of Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Spaghetti Western film of the same name. Set in the Wild West of the 1860s and 1870s, the Italian-French television series revolves around Django, a man wanted by law, who comes across a city named New Babylon that welcomes all outcasts with open arms, serving no discrimination based on their diverse status, walks of life, and beliefs. Django is looking to turn over a new leaf but is still seeking justice and reeling from the grief of the devastating loss he incurred eight years ago, when his family was mercilessly murdered.
All these years, Django has held onto hope that his daughter, Sarah, somehow survived the massacre and is alive somewhere. To his surprise, the gunslinger learns that she is indeed well and resides in New Babylon. However, things get complicated when Django’s now-20-year-old daughter wants nothing to do with her father or his brutal past and is set to tie the knot with John Ellis, who is the founder of the barren town. Nevertheless, Django strongly believes that the ramshackle city isn’t the idyllic haven it presents itself as. Fearing his estranged daughter’s life might be in danger, Django is adamant about staying in New Babylon and doing whatever it takes to keep it safe.
The Western drama series features compelling performances by a talented main cast comprising Matthias Schoenaerts, Nicholas Pinnock, Lisa Vicari, and Noomi Rapace. Driven by a powerful script that retains the essence of the cult film, it is packed with fast-paced action sequences and stunning backdrops that offer it a Euro-Texan feel. If the gritty visuals and overall moody tone have captivated you enough to get you curious about the filming locations of ‘Django,’ you’re at the right place as we’ve got all the information you need in that regard.
Django Filming Locations
‘Django’ is filmed in the southeastern European country of Romania, particularly in and around Bucharest and Transylvania. The first season was initially set to start filming from November 2020 to December 2021. However, the plans derailed, and filming didn’t commence until early 2021. The production on season 1 finally began on May 10, 2021, and went on for over six months before wrapping up on December 31, 2021. Looking for more details concerning the filming of the show? Without further ado, let’s delve in!
Brașov County, Romania
The commune of Racoș in Brașov County, Transylvania, serves as one of the major shooting sites of ‘Django.’ The cast and crew set up camp at the volcanic landscape to shoot several pivotal sequences for the show. To be specific, the area near the crater of the eponymous breathtaking inactive volcano, located a few km from the village, doubles up as New Babylon in the show. Scenographer Paki Meduri, who holds responsibility for the set design, combined her professional skills and years of expertise to construct the ramshackle city of New Babylon and the rival city of Elmdale in Racoș and ensure it resembles the rustic feel of the American Frontier.
Per reports, about 20 natural locations in Romania, comprising over 50 houses, were used to build sets. However, the process of filming season 1 in the region wasn’t devoid of minor hiccups. For the purpose of filming, the production team had rented the place for nearly a year, shutting down access without an official permit to the popular Racoș volcano AKA Alsórákos. The shutdown rubbed several tourists the wrong way. Many travelers were prohibited from visiting or clicking pictures at the oldest volcano in the region due to the shooting of the first season being carried out in full swing.
Though the decision to shoot at the stunning volcano was met with displeasure by the tourists, the locals welcomed it as it meant heaps of money being pumped back into the local association funds. In an interview with B365, Romanian film producer Andrei Boncea explained how the area perfectly complements the show’s visual aesthetic. He said, “It was immediately clear that the Racoș Volcano is an extraordinary and perfect location for the city of New Babylon, a former village of gold miners, now populated by outcasts, refugees and freed slaves who want to found a new, free world, isolated and hidden from the intolerant civilization dominated by rapacity, greed and inhumanity of the American West.”
Apart from Racos, the quaint communes of Zărnești and Râșnov also serve as shooting destinations for ‘Django.’ Opening up about the scouting process, Boncea said, “We beat almost the whole country and all the mountains, from the Carpathians to the Danube. Naturally, we had to find, in principle, the Grand Canyon, Arizona and Mississippi, but at the same time also ‘Cold Mountain’ by Anthony Minghella, filmed in Râșnov in 2001. The action of the series takes place exactly at the same time.”
He added, “Both Django and Inman (Jude Law in ‘Cold Mountain’) are two soldiers in the Confederate army, defeated by the North, trying in one way or another to return home. Naturally, ‘home’ means completely different things to Inman and Django, who in turn couldn’t be more different. But the era, the atmosphere, the devastating trauma of the American civil war, still difficult for us Europeans to understand, are the same.”
The production team of ‘Django’ chose Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, as one of the prominent filming locations. The first installment of the Western drama series was extensively shot in and around the stunning and trendy city, popularly known as the Paris of the East. The decision to film in Romania also stems from the fact that the country provides lucrative tax incentives, reportedly making ‘Django’ the largest TV show project being taped in the Balkan nation. As season 1 was filmed while COVID-19 was still rampant across the globe, the cast and crew were granted permission to film after presenting proof of their vaccinations against the virus.
Boncea delightfully explained the decision to settle for Romania. He said, “… although we are not institutionally “friendly” enough or competitive for many other reasons, there are many filmmakers who continue to come to Romania or choose Romania for their projects, because it simply fits artistically, but also as location and production needs for their projects. And the fairly small community of film industry professionals working in international production (probably around 1000 souls) are themselves extremely competitive for any kind of production.”
Moving 25-40 km from the city of Bucharest, the cast and crew also lens a few scenes in the Muntenia region, particularly in Potigrafu, a village in Gorgota in Prahova County; Călugăreni, a commune in Giurgiu County; as well as Snagov, a town in Ilfov County. The Castel Film Studios also serves as a production site for the drama series. The filming team utilizes the western set of the film studio to capture several scenes. In addition, the production services of Frame Film Studios, co-owned by Andrei Boncea, and Buftea Studios in Buftea town in Ilfov County, are utilized for filming many sequences.
When asked whether they found Bucharest attractive in the architectural sense for the show, Andrei replied, “Not for Django, of course. Because Django takes place in the Wild West in the year 1870. And, from an architectural point of view, there is nothing in Bucharest that can be used for that era and that place (the only architectural attractions at that time were at most the Colței Tower, the Mogoșoaiei, Cișmigiul and the 200 churches). However, we shoot in Bucharest at our Frame studios, where we built some sets on the set and nearby in Snagov, at Castel Film, in their western exterior set that we expanded…”
Other Locations in Romania
A few scenes were also filmed at Tamasului Valley. To film additional sequences, the cast and crew visit the area surrounding the Danube river, which runs across the central and southeast portion of Europe. Shooting also takes place in Northern Dobruja or Dobrogea, nestled between the Danube River and the Black Sea in the Balkan Peninsula. Specifically, the team tapes a few scenes at the commune of Turcoaia and the peak called Pietrele Mariei (Mary’s Stones) in the Măcin Mountains, both situated in Tulcea County in the northwestern part of the Dobrogea region. Parts of Cheile Dobrogei and the Black Sea shore also serve as shooting sites for ‘Django.’
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