Wonder Woman filmed in the UK and Italy
Warner Bros’ superhero movie Wonder Woman used the UK as a production base but also filmed Italy’s scenic Amalfi Coast as the title character’s mythical homeland.
The film is set during the First World War and follows publisher DC’s Amazon comic book character Diana Prince – the Wonder Woman of the title – as she is drawn into the conflict by a crashed US fighter pilot.
Director Patty Jenkins and her team filmed all stage work at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden – where Zack Snyder also shot the Warner Bros/DC movie Justice League – and there was extensive location work in and around London.
“Due to Warner Bros. having invested heavily in Leavesden studios, the natural decision is normally to shoot large films in the UK,” says Charles Somers, the film’s supervising location manager, in comments to KFTV.
“There is a generous tax incentive combined with a huge pool of talent – the UK crews being some of the best in the world. In addition to this, part of the film was set in London in 1918, and whilst London has undergone a modern transformation in recent years, there is still much of the city which looks the same as it did 100 years ago.”
Two platforms at Kings Cross Station were shut to double for Paddington Station, given that more remains of Kings Cross’s historic architecture. Period-appropriate train carriages were transported from a nearby heritage railway for filming.
Popular movie location Bourne Wood in Surrey stood in for Belgian story settings and Arundel Castle in West Sussex doubled for a Belgian chateau used by German forces during scenes where Diana fights with the Allies. Western Front trench sets were built on Leavesden’s back lot.
Somers and his team also negotiated the closure of Trafalgar Square in central London for a few brief hours on a Sunday morning for scenes set during Armistice Day celebrations. The tight filming window meant the entire location had to be wrapped in a blue screen in just 15 minutes.
Dozens of different countries were considered to stand in for Themyscira, home to Diana and her fellow Amazons.
The location had to fulfil a very specific set of criteria. In practical terms it needed to be relatively warm due to the Amazons’ light clothing design and it had to offer an imposing cliff backdrop for some of the key action scenes.
“We wanted to have classical Grecian architecture set in a lush, almost tropical setting and very quickly realised that the world is smaller than one imagines,” Somers tells KFTV.
“We desktop-researched over 50 countries before Aline Bonetto – the film’s production designer – and I flew all around the world to physically scout the shortlisted favourite locations. In one very busy month, we scouted Italy, Sardinia, South Africa, Thailand and the Dominic Republic.
Italy’s Amalfi Coast satisfied most of the requirements, with additional cliffs added digitally in post-production to enhance the existing visuals.
Images: Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Entertainment/Ratpac-Dune Entertainment