It’s a cold November evening and Leeds Castle is shrouded in complete darkness as an eerie silence falls across the estate. A tall, dark figure appears through the fog, floating quietly on a wooden barge across the moat towards the Barbican.
As the fog clears the figure disembarks from the barge and the light catches his face. It is Benedict Cumberbatch in full character as Richard III on his way to the Tower of London as he utters the famous Shakespearean quote: “Grim-visag’d war hath smooth’d his wrinkl’d front…”
The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses (broadcast in May 2016) is the latest historical feature to be filmed at Leeds Castle along with Dover Castle and Penshurst Place during the winter of 2014.
With a star-studded cast including Benedict Cumberbatch and Hugh Bonneville, this series of three feature-length films completes the cycle of Shakespeare’s history plays which began four years ago with Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V. The action this time focuses on the bitter battle for power between the houses of York and Lancaster, known as the Wars of the Roses, and opens with Henry VI Part One, followed by Henry VI Part Two and Richard III.
Leeds Castle provided the location for the River Thames and Tower of London boat scenes across all three plays featuring principle actors Benedict Cumberbatch – Richard III, Hugh Bonneville – Duke of Gloucester, Sophie Okonedo – Margaret of Anjou and Tom Sturridge – Henry VI.
A production cast and crew of 150 descended upon the near 900 year old Castle as their film location for three days while the Castle visitors and guests were relatively undisturbed by the production.
To coincide with the release of The Hollow Crown, the Kent County Council Film Office is launching the Tudor(ish) Trail.
to celebrate Kent’s Tudor history and film connections on Friday 6th May 2016 to allow historical film lovers to visit the historic properties seen in features over the years.
Leeds Castle features in the trail with Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses and Henry VIII featuring Ray Winstone and Helena Bonham Carter in 2003 among other older productions.
To enquire about location filming at Leeds Castle click here.