Exodus: Gods and Kings showcases UK film industry
Friday sees the US release of Exodus: Gods and Kings (Twentieth Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment/Scott Free Productions), an historical epic from legendary British director Sir Ridley Scott. With the help of the cream of UK filmmaking expertise, Exodus tells the story of Moses in breathtaking style. UK audiences will be able to see the film from Boxing Day.
UK studios offer limitless opportunities
The scale of the project necessitated expansive, state-of-the-art stage space, and Exodus found a suitable home at Pinewood Studios. The production used Pinewood’s Richard Attenborough and Q stages with each providing over 30,000 sq. ft of shooting space and 50 ft of clear height.
The production also took advantage of Pinewood’s world-class water filming facilities, shooting at both the Underwater Stage and the external Paddock Tank, as well as its extensive outside space. Both the four-acre Paddock Lot and the vast 16 acre North Lot were used by Scott to help create the stunning world seen in the film.
Whilst Pinewood’s flagship studio in Buckinghamshire is a great example of the UK’s purpose–built stages, Longcross Studios in Surrey is the perfect example of the UK’s wealth of alternative stage space. The former tank factory, where a key special effects set piece for Exodus: God and Kings was staged, has become one of the UK’s most popular filming bases, hosting productions such as Lionsgate’s Now You See Me 2, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy and Skyfall (MGM/Sony Columbia/Eon).
As the National agency responsible for maximising and supporting the production of major feature film and television in the UK, the British Film Commission was on hand throughout production, providing support and guidance in the UK as well as key introductions for the international elements of their shoot.
Testament to UK’s talent
Exodus: Gods and Kings features a host of UK acting royalty, including Oscar-winners Christian Bale and Sir Ben Kingsley CBE, but the UK talent doesn’t stop there. Alongside Scott, the off-screen talent includes Writer Jeffrey Caine, Costume Designer Janty Yates and Producer Mark Huffam.
Exodus is the latest in a long line of major productions to benefit from Huffam’s expertise, with other credits including major UK-shot titles World War Z (Paramount) and Mama Mia (Universal) as well as other Ridley Scott collaborations The Counselor (Fox 2000/Scott Free Productions/Nick Weschler Productions) and Prometheus (Twentieth Century Fox/Scott Free Productions). Other key UK crew included Unit Production Manager Janine Modder, First AD Lee Grummet and Supervising Location Manager James Grant.
The film is already being lauded for its stunning visual effects, much of which can be attributed to industry leading UK VFX houses MPC and Double Negative. Both have been busy this year, with MPC creating the breathtaking effects seen in Maleficent (Disney) and Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel), while Double Negative has recently worked on several UK shot projects including box office hit Paddington (StudioCanal/Heyday Films) and Marvel’s much anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Exodus: God and Kings is a great example of recent productions to have taken advantage of the UK’s extensive talent, crew and facilities. With projects currently shooting in the UK including the much anticipated 24th James Bond film Spectre (MGM/Sony Columbia/Eon) and the fifth season of television phenomenon Game of Thrones (HBO), there are many more UK-produced epics to come.