Thursday, February 21, 2013
One of Norwich’s most historic landmarks is set to become a star of the big screen next month in a new Hollywood blockbuster inspired by the fairytale classic Jack and the Beanstalk.
Norwich Cathedral was transformed into an elaborate film set as scenes for the movie Jack the Giant Slayer were filmed there with an all-star cast in 2011.
Ewan McGregor, Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Ian McShane were among the big names to visit the city for the making of the 3D action adventure in which a young farmhand unwittingly re-ignites an age-old war and opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants.
At the time details of the filming and the cathedral’s role were kept firmly under wraps - but soon the secrets will be revealed when the movie hits UK cinemas on March 22.
And as these images released by Warner Brothers show, viewers are already being treated to a sneak preview of what is in store.
Most of the filming at Norwich Cathedral took place in the nave and triforium, and it used as the setting for King Brahmwell’s throne room.
Phil Thomas, the cathedral’s estates manager, was the main member of the cathedral staff who liaised with the film company and gave director Bryan Singer a tour of the building.
He said the cathedral had first been approached by Warner Brothers in 2010, and had been keen to be involved after seeing how other cathedrals had benefited from being used as film locations.
He said: “The filming was very exciting. It took place over about two weeks and each day they were on site from about 6am until late in the afternoon.
“It was great fun, especially seeing the way they transformed the building. Some of the props were amazing. There were walls where there weren’t normally walls and they looked so real. It was very clever.”
He said he hoped the cathedral’s role in the film would encourage more people to visit.
“It will advertise the cathedral in America and other countries and hopefully it will encourage visitors to England to come and see Norwich Cathedral,” he said.
“It is an opportunity to celebrate Norwich Cathedral, show off the cathedral to people who perhaps would not normally come here.
“I think everyone is very proud of the cathedral in Norwich and Norfolk but people perhaps take it for granted. “Hopefully people will see it on the screen and then want to see the cathedral in real life.”
Mr Thomas stressed that during the filming great efforts were made to protect the cathedral building and ensure there was always an area available for worship.
“The film company was very careful with the cathedral building. There was a consultation with our cathedral architect and we had specialist building conservationists to help too so that the film company could achieve what they wanted but there was no damage the building,” he said.
“We were very keen to make sure that the building was protected at all times, that services could still continue, and we also scrutinised the film subject matter to make sure it was appropriate.”
Mr Thomas said he was unable to disclose how much the cathedral was paid to be used as a film location but said all of the money was being put back into the cathedral buildings.
And he said he thought film-goers would be in for a treat when the film - which is released in America on March 1 - opens in the UK on March 22.
“From what we have seen it looks like it will be a fantastic film,” he said.
“I am very much looking forward to seeing it. I was pleased we haven’t been cut - when I saw the cathedral on the trailer it was very exciting knowing we had made it through to the film!”
• Jack the Giant Slayer will be in cinemas from March 22.
• Were you involved in the making of Jack the Giant Slayer at Norwich Cathedral? Email reporter Emma Knights at firstname.lastname@example.org