If you were following my blog at all this summer you will remember that I was pretty much obsessed with a feature film that was being filmed in the French market town of
The film, The Hundred Foot Journey, is produced by
Steven Spielberg & Oprah Winfrey & stars
Although the filming was winding down in St. Antonin by early October it had moved on to other pretty towns in the area. Before I left France I was able to visit a few of these spots & see just a little more of the production process.
The first location was a beautiful little village with a lovely old mill (above), which would be the site of a picnic scene. The actress Charlotte Le Bon waits with her bicycle for the scene to begin. Oddly enough most French people seemed rather disinterested in the fact that Helen Mirren was there but they were very excited to see this well known French Canadian TV star.
For the entire time of filming in St. Antonin, I was wondering where the actual restaurants, which are the main focus of the film, would be. But it was not until I took a trip to the tiny town of Carlus, just outside of Albi that I had my answer.
The premiss of the film is the conflict between two restaurants, an elegant French three star restaurant & a loud & garish Indian new comer only a hundred feet away. The old farmhouse will be the site of the Indian restaurant while the grand sedate French restaurant will be a complete false front. There is one tiny window at the top out of which Helen Mirren, who plays the haughty French chief, will no doubt be looking disdainfully at her unwelcome neighbors.
Because so many of the scenes will be set at night, a large crane is used to hoist heavy lighting. As you can see above this part of the film is being shot in a quiet, remote part of the countryside.
I did not get to see Oprah. It seems she arrived just after I left. I did get to see Helen Mirren several times. One Sunday morning she sat in the café at a table right next to mine. However, my attempts at taking a discreet photo unobserved were a complete failure. So I have borrowed one from Oprah's own Instagram page taken as you can see in front of the farmhouse pictured above.
The Hundred Foot Journey will open in August 2014. I am looking forward to seeing the finished product. It was an exciting experience to be able to follow so closely the production of a film like this. I am hoping that I will be back in France when it opens & that I will be able to see it with all of those that experienced it in a similar way. Because what better place to see this film but in my favorite cinema in the whole world right in St. Antonin Nobel Val.