‘The Take’ (Bastille Day) is indie filmmaker James Watkins’ (‘Eden Lake’, ‘The Woman in Black) first venture into directing a Hollywood potboiler, and he brings the same kind of financial sensibility that is prevalent in his other projects. The film is gorgeously shot and tightly edited. Not even a single frame in it feels excessive or added to satiate the director’s vanity. It is a high-octane action thriller set in Paris that deals with multiple themes, including police corruption, racism, xenophobia, and fascism. Let us see whether it was filmed on location or elsewhere.
The Take Filming Locations
In ‘The Take’, Watkins weaves a complex and multi-layered story around the film’s setting, the city of Paris. It follows its three protagonists, CIA agent Sean Briar (Idris Elba), pickpocket Michael Mason (Richard Madden), and anti-fascist protester Zoe Naville (Charlotte Le Bon), as they get entangled in a conspiracy by corrupt police officers to rob the French National Bank. ‘The Take’ was indeed filmed in Paris for the most part, with some additional filming done in London.
Filmmakers have been traditionally reluctant about filming in France because of the high production cost there. However, if a film distinctively showcases French culture, heritage, and territory (like ‘The Take’ has), it can regain a considerable portion of its total production expenditure through France’s Tax Rebate for International Productions (TRIP). When ‘The Take’ was filmed there, between October 13, 2014, and December 17, 2014, the rebate was 20%. It has since been raised to 30%.
— Alison Benney (@ParisFitness) October 20, 2014
In ‘The Take’, the filmmakers wanted to capture the dual facets of Paris, the grand and picturesque landmarks that have garnered the city its international repute and the nitty-gritty everyday life of a bustling metropolis. In an interview, producer David Kanter stated, “We hope the film gives audiences everywhere a different perspective on what a tough, muscular and serious city Paris is. It’s not just a beautiful place – it’s also a tough working city and I think we get into that in a very meaningful way for the story.” (via KFTV)
At the start of the film, there is a beautiful exterior shot of the Sacré-Cœur or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. The interaction between Mason and his female accomplice was shot on location at Abbesses Metro Station, while the scene in which Mason steals Zoe’s bag was filmed at Le Refuge. There is also a chase sequence involving Briar and Mason across rooftops that was shot on top of Le BHV Marais. The energy-fueled car scenes were filmed at Avenue Gaston Roussel & Rue Paul de Kock, 93230 Romainville, France. The affluent 16th arrondissement of Paris also makes an appearance in the film.
For the last four of the nine-week filming schedule, the production team traveled to London to shoot some key sequences there. The riot scenes in front of what was supposed to be the French National Bank were filmed at the Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) in Greenwich. Some scenes were filmed at Farmiloe Building, 34 St John Street as well. In recent years, the location has also been used in the productions of movies like ‘Now You See Me 2’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises. The Closing sequence of ‘The Take’ was filmed at The Maughan Library, located at Chancery Ln, Holborn, London.
— Greenwich.co.uk (@greenwichcouk) December 5, 2014
Greenwich Naval College becomes Paris. They're filming Bastille Day starring Idris Elba. pic.twitter.com/4XiK4PdLT9
— Ged Adamson (@ged_adamson) December 6, 2014