Monday, September 2, 2013

Filming in St. Antonin

Just as I was about to write yet another post about the peaceful tranquility of life in France (i.e. not much happening), I got news that there is a film production descending on St. Antonin. Yes, a film staring Helen Mirren & produced by Steven Spielberg & Oprah Winfrey will begin shooting here in mid September.

Unfortunately, I did not receive word in time to sign up to be an extra. Apparently, there was a casting call for 800 extras in August. It went out through the local news papers & the Internet. But I have not been connected to either this summer & so I missed the whole thing. One of my neighbors did sign up however & I am excited to hear about his experience.

The film will be directed by the Swedish director, Lasse Hallström. And from what I understand, the story line is about two restaurants. A well known chef, played by Helen Merrin, falls in love with a small town in France ( St. Antonin?) & decides to open a restaurant. Soon after, an Indian restaurant opens across the road & conflict ensues.

Thus far there is little evidence of this major production that is about to take place. A few storefronts, presumably that will play a role in the film, have been repainted. It seems that the entire town center will be closed durning production & all of the shops & cafés will be compensated for business lost. Facades of buildings will be painted or altered to suit the film & then be returned to their original colors afterwards.

Because there is little to show at this point, I have no photos to share. But I do know that one of the scenes in the film will be of a Sunday market, so I have added photos of yesterday's market. I have no idea of what the general public will be able to see during filming but I will certainly want to take a look & will keep you informed accordingly.

St. Antonin is not new to feature films. The film Charlotte Grey was shot here a number of years ago & many of the towns people were extras in it as well. It was a period piece taking place during WWII. I am told that the film crew built & painted wooden sets to camouflage the more modern aspects of the town where needed.

Charlotte Grey was shot in St. Antonin & in another small town in the Lot region. Then scenes of the two towns were combined to create a fictitious town. This may be what they will do with this film too, as it is being shot in three towns. It will be shot here as well as the larger town of Albi, & the small village of Castenau de Levis just outside of Albi.

As of yet, I have not found any mention of a title for this film. Perhaps it is being kept under wraps or perhaps there simply is not one for now. I will continue to search for new information & certainly share the whole experience with you here.


  1. Sally, I heard about the film and the casting from the Haylers, and on my return, ordered the book. I am half way through reading it now and the story actually takes place in the Jura region of France. There are lots of descriptions of the Alps, so the film is obviously going to be a little different!