Based on an epic true story of the eponymous prominent historical figure, ‘Napoleon’ is a biographical historical drama movie starring the Academy Award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix as the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, whose celebratory rise and tragic fall is captured by the direction of the legendary filmmaker, Ridley Scott, who is known for ‘Gladiator,’ ‘American Gangster,’ and ‘The Martian.’ The plot follows the titular character’s perseverant journey while dealing with his addictive and unstable relationship with his wife, Josephine.
Apart from the ‘Joker‘ star, the war action film also consists of compelling performances from a group of other talented actors, including Vanessa Kirby, Tahar Rahim, Ben Miles, Ludivine Sagnier, and Matthew Needham. Set against the backdrop of war and romance, the film includes some of the most dynamic and practical battle sequences ever captured, raising several questions about the filming sites in the minds of the viewers.
Napoleon Filming Locations
‘Napoleon’ was filmed in England, Malta, France, and Morocco, especially in Buckinghamshire, Lincoln, Oxfordshire, Sussex, London, Surrey, Kettering, Farnham, Kalkara, Paris, and Merzouga. As per reports, principal photography for the Joaquin Phoenix starrer got underway in February 2022 under the working title ‘Marengo,’ which is a reference to the Battle of Marengo. The filming unit had 11 to 14 cameras on set, which allowed them to finish the shooting in just over a couple of months.
Several pivotal sequences for ‘Napoleon’ were taped across Buckinghamshire, a ceremonial county situated in South East England. For instance, the production team utilized the premise of the grade I listed country house Stowe House in the civil parish of Stowe. Owned by the Stowe House Preservation Trust, the property is home to the private Stowe School and is regularly open to the public. A few scenes were also lensed on Stowe Avenue.
The filming unit also took over the West Wycombe Park, a country house located near West Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. During the production process, several horsedrawn carriages with actors dressed in costumes were also spotted on the streets of the village of West Wycombe.
Other Locations in England
For the purpose of filming, Joaquin Phoenix and the rest of the crew also traveled to other locations across England, including the cathedral city of Lincoln. In March 2022, they turned the Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln Minster, or the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln, on Minster Yard in Lincoln into Notre-Dame de Paris to tape important scenes set in the latter. Numerous properties were turned into film sets throughout the shooting schedule. The Great Hall of the majestic English Baroque style-designed Blenheim Palace at Woodstock in Oxfordshire is one of the sites, alongside Boughton House in the Weekley parish in Northamptonshire, a few miles from Kettering.
In addition, the production crew utilized the Marble Hall and the Grand Staircase of the 17th-century Petworth House in West Sussex to shoot a few sequences. Furthermore, several scenes were also lensed at the Painted Hall in Old Royal Naval College, which is part of the University of Greenwich in Greenwich, London. The sequence in which Queen Marie Antoinette gets executed was filmed at the Neoclassical property of Somerset House in London. Peperharow Park in Hankley Common, Surrey, as well as Hankley Common Golf Club on The Clubhouse at Tilford Road in Farnham, are also the popular places where the movie was lensed.
Aside from England, the cast and crew of ‘Napoleon’ also moved to other countries across the globe for shooting. Built in the 17th century, Fort Ricasoli in St. Rocco Street in Kalkara in Malta was chosen as a site to recreate the Siege of Toulon, a military operation that transpired in 1793 and significantly changed the course of Napoleon’s life. Furthermore, filming also took place in The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Paul AKA St Paul’s Cathedral or the Mdina Cathedral, at 2 Triq San Pawl in Mdina, Malta. Apart from filming in Malta for three weeks in May 2022, the production team also set up camp in the Merzouga desert in Morocco to tape the movie. A minor portion of the shooting also took place in Paris AKA the City of Love in France.
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