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Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 11:38 UK
Steven Spielberg's War Horse begins filming in Castle Combe
Filming War Horse at Castle Combe
Castle Combe was selected as the perfect 'Devon Village' for Steven Spielberg's latest movie, War Horse.

A crew of over 300 extras and 30 horses are heading to Castle Combe for the first day of filming of Steven Spielberg's new movie, War Horse.

Castle Combe had to compete with a host of Devon villages to land a role in the Oscar winning director's new multi-million pound film.

The village, now closed for filming until the end of September, is doubling for a Devon village.

Fiona Francombe, a Production Liaison Manager from South West Screen said: "Castle Combe lends itself to filming.

"It's a very controllable, picturesque village - very good for period filming - which of course War Horse is.

"They scouted a lot of Devon villages and they may have considered Lacock but they didn't fit."

It was at the beginning of August that it was announced that Castle Combe had landed the role in Spielberg's adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's novel War Horse.

Filming War Horse at Castle Combe
The village has been transported back to a World War I springtime scene

Set in World War I the story follows a young farmhand who braves the trenches in an effort to bring his cherished horse Joey home after it is sold to the cavalry and sent to France.

To transport Castle Combe back to a World War I springtime village setting, teams of set dressers moved in over the weekend to add banks of delphiniums, red roses and wisteria.

With filming due to begin in the early hours of Tuesday, 21 September access to the village has now been closed.

But how did the 'Wiltshire Mecca of Picturesque Villages' land the role?

"We got involved a few months ago," says Fiona, "but by the time we got involved it was a done deal.

"A lot of location managers are aware of Castle Combe. It's had quite lot of filming in the past and so we had less to do with selling it. I think it sold itself."

In fact, over the years, Castle Combe has made several screen appearances. In 1967 it was the backdrop for Rex Harrison's classic Dr Dolittle whilst more recently it stood in for the village of Wall in the fantasy-adventure-love story 'Stardust' starring Sienna Miller.

But it's not just the tiny Wiltshire village that is proving far from camera shy.

Filming War Horse at Castle Combe
Filming the multi-million pound movie has shut down the village

"Wiltshire is particularly blessed with some wonderful locations," says Fiona, "and Wiltshire has done very well over the last few years.

"And with War Horse we've had the blessing of having the production film in two locations in the south west."

"Obviously we've got them in Castle Combe this week but they've also been on Dartmoor for a couple of weeks as well."

For residents, faced with the disruption of the village being closed for two weeks, and their village transformed into a film set - there is compensation.

"The production will make sure that the inconveniences caused, are recompensed," says Fiona.

"They will also make sure that they leave Castle Combe and its residents feeling that it was a positive experience and they've maybe gained more then just money from it."

Filming will continue on location in Castle Combe until the end of September with Spielberg's film due to be released in August 2011.




SEE ALSO
Spielberg film War Horse closes roads
17 Sep 10 |  People & Places
From Hollywood to Dartmoor
03 Aug 10 |  Arts & Culture
Desperately seeking Spielberg
06 Aug 10 |  Arts & Culture
Spielberg to film in Wiltshire
09 Aug 10 |  Arts & Culture
Spielberg names War Horse actors
18 Jun 10 |  Entertainment & Arts
Spielberg filming diverts 'yomp'
11 Sep 10 |  Devon
Michael Morpurgo on War Horse and beyond
30 Jul 10 |  Entertainment & Arts

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