Lincolnshire County Council confirmed that several hundred members of cast and crew will be working on the filming of Ridley Scott’s Apple TV+ Napoleon movie over the next two days.
The film, originally set to be called Kitbag, now will be called Marengo after an early militant battle for Napoleon Bonaparte. The movie will feature a A-list cast with the lead role of Napoleon being played by Joaquin Phoenix. Venessa Kirby, who played Princess Margret in The Crown, will play Napoleon’s first wife Empress Josephine.
The Cathedral will be used to represent Notre Dame in the movie, having previously been used as Westminster Abbey for the films Young Victoria (2007), The King (2008) and The Da Vinci Code (2006).
Darren Scales a feature film producer and Senior Lecturer of Film Production at the University of Lincoln shared his expert views on how Ridley Scott and his team will turn Lincoln Cathedral into 1800s Notre Dame.
“They haven’t just turned up and started filming, they’re spending a week dressing the set so that it obviously looks a certain way. Costume design and make-up will be done to fit the era also.”
“In terms of achieving historical accuracy you have to balance being accurate with good story telling. On one hand it has to me accurate, but it also has to be balanced with what moves a story forward and ultimately allows the audience to suspend their disbelief.”
This is not the first time that the Cathedral and its surrounding areas have been used as sets to shoot movie or TV scenes. The most noteworthy of these being The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour.
In 2006, Ron Howard used the Cathedral to depict Westminster Abbey in The Da Vinci Code which stared Tom Hanks and Sir Ian McKellen.
In the 2018 Netflix original film, The King, the Cathedral is once again used as Westminster Abbey for the coronation of Henry V played by Timothee Chalamet.
Mike Leigh used steep hill and the top of the bailgate to film parts of his 2018 historical drama Peterloo, based on the true story of the Peterloo Massacre of 1819.
In 2018, Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour staring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May used the bailgate and the Cathedral for filming classic cars.
Local Lincoln resident and film buff, Clive Baxter thinks it’s fantastic that such big Hollywood names have come to Lincoln.
Mr Baxter said, “It’s great to see such excitement around the Cathedral today. Not been able to see any of the big stars yet, but I’ve been able to see lots of actors in their costumes.”
“It’s also great to see lots of Lincoln residents come out and take an interest and for the area to not be closed off so much is a real bonus.”
There is currently no scheduled release date for the movie, but Apple TV have sated it will be released some time in 2023.