ADG Perspective

November-December 2023

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1 2 8 P E R S P E C T I V E | N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 3 Malta The fundamental challenge with this project was to recreate 18th century revolutionary France and Italy, Austria, Netherlands and Russia, but for various practical reasons, not go to France or any of the other historic locations at all, but shoot the entire film in the UK and Malta. Surprisingly, this was not as problematic as I had initially feared it would be. With the help of the production's amazing locations team, led by Steve Mortimore in the UK, and Joseph Formosa Randon in Malta, we managed to make it work. It was a long but quite an interesting journey not unlike the campaigns of Napoleon himself. The final selected locations that were used are just a fraction of all those that were scouted. The team's travels began in Malta, a place that we knew quite well from the first Gladiator movie. The idea was to use its incredible Grand Harbour as a setting for the Siege of Toulon, 1793, for the opening scenes of the film and where Napoleon as a young artillery officer, aged 24, made his name and was first noticed by the leaders of the French Revolution. We also shot around various streets and passages of Valetta town which overlooked the harbor as a prelude to the battle. The Siege of Toulon was a military engagement in which Napoleon won his first military reputation by forcing the withdrawal of the Anglo-Spanish fleet, which was occupying the southern French city of Toulon and its forts and strangling the supply lines of the Revolutionary army. We decided to use magnificent Fort Ricasoli for the port of Toulon, with its spectacular limestone walls and original barrack buildings all set on a promontory overlooking the harbor entrance. The scenes called for an enormous attack with cannon fire and explosions with a great deal of physical destruction to the fortress. The problem was that the historical buildings were all protected and could not be harmed, so we decided to build rather large sections of sets on the parade grounds within the fort to stage the scenes of the assault and devastation and blow them up instead. F i n d i n g F r a n c e i n t h e U K a n d M a l t a D E S I G N I N G N A P O L E O N B Y A R T H U R M A X , P R O D U C T I O N D E S I G N E R A. NIGHT ATTACK ON TOULON FORTRESS. CONCEPT ILLUSTRATION BY SCOTT MCINNESS USING A 3D SET MODEL FROM VECTORWORKS DRAWINGS AND A PHOTOSHOP PAINTOVER. B. TOULON FORT PLATFORM SET. VFX CONCEPT OF THE UPPER AND LOWER SETS COMBINED BY VFX ART DIRECTOR PETRA BOLAGH IN DIGITAL MODELING SOFTWARE. SUPERIMPOSED ON AN AERIAL TOPOGRAPHICAL SCAN. IMPORTED INTO TWINMOTION. C. TOULON FORT UNDER CONSTRUCTION: FORT RICASOLI, MALTA. A

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