Centre of Ghent hosts Hollywood film shoot next week

Summary

The Sint-Michiels bridge in the centre of Ghent will be closed next week for the shooting of the film Emperor, starring Adrien Brody as Charles V

Out with the 21st century

Film decor specialists and technicians are swarming the Sint-Michiels bridge in the centre of Ghent this week to make the bridge appear to be from the 16th century for the shooting of the Hollywood film Emperor.

The bridge, which has a magnificent view of the city’s famous three towers and of the Leie canal flanked by the Graslei and Korenlei, was actually built in the early 20th century. All modern trappings on the bridge and surroundings are being camouflaged for the shoot.

Most of Emperor, starring Adrien Brody (The Pianist, The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Charles V, who was born in Ghent, is being shot in the Czech Republic. About 10% of it, including the spectacular opening scenes, are being shot in Ghent.

The Sint-Michiels bridge is already closed to cars but will also be closed to public transport, cyclists and foot traffic next week from Monday evening to Friday afternoon. Other scenes will be shot at the Gravensteen castle and at the nearby Drongen abbey.

New Zealand director Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors) will be in Ghent the entire week, as will all the film’s lead actors, including Brody and British actor Sophie Cookson, who plays Charles’ mother, Joanna.

Originally, the Ghent shoot was scheduled for October but was moved up to this month. “I’m extremely happy about this production,” said mayor Daniël Termont. “This film will introduce Ghent to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.”

Photo: View from Sint-Michiels bridge

Flemish cinema

Thanks to a federal tax shelter system, support from the Flemish Audiovisueel Fund and the rise of a new generation of talented filmmakers, Flemish cinema has been riding the crest of a wave since the mid-2000s with distinctly locally flavoured features that have appealed to both crowds and critics.
Loft - With more than one million viewers, Erik Van Looy’s Loft was the most successful movie ever made in Flanders.
Bullhead - In 2012, Michaël R Roskam’s directorial debut Rundskop (Bullhead) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film.
Names - Well-known current Flemish directors include Erik Van Looy, Jan Verheyen, Michaël R Roskam, Fien Troch and Felix Van Groeningen.
1

in 5 movie tickets sold in Flanders is to see a Flemish movie

226

international festival nominations or prizes in 2012

1 462 160

people went to see a Flemish (co)production in Belgium in 2012