News & Features

Event Report: Far from The Madding Crowd

December 19, 2013

Category: Event Reports | Keywords: crowd far from madding mike mixon the

A visit to the set of 'Far from The Madding Crowd'

Earlier in the year I helped, in a small way, Leah Clarke of DNA films on some potential sites for their new film, Hardy’s ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’. So I was delighted to be invited by her colleague, Sarah Clark, to meet her on set. I needed no second bidding!

Sarah is the Unit Publicist for the film, working for Fox Searchlight (UK). We met under the shadow of the magnificent Sherborne Abbey in Sherborne, which was now transformed into the market at Casterbridge, and what a magnificent transformation it was.

I was introduced to many of the film technicians and all welcomed me warmly. I also saw, from a distance, Sargent Troy and Gabriel Oak (Tom Sturridge and Matthias Schoenaerts respectively).

Walking round the set I was impressed by the painstaking detail that had gone into creating the market for that period.

I watched a couple of ‘takes’ actually happening, and was amazed at the coordination required by all who have a role in the scene, not least the numerous background artists who are so vital in scenes of this type, bringing realism and movement to the shot.

Perhaps another thing that impressed was the way Sherborne folk respected calls for silence when filming was actually happening and how relaxed they seemed, even though parts of their town, inevitably, were fenced off for a number of hours a day. But how proud they will be when they see their beautiful town as a backdrop to one of the great Victorian novels, being watched all over the world!

My thanks go to Sarah and all the people I met on the day.

With a cast that includes Cary Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaerts, Juno Temple and Michael Sheen, a screenplay by David Nicholls (who wrote the world bestseller ‘One Day’) and of course the wonderful Dorset countryside, this film can’t fail to succeed.

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