Spanish filming for Joaquin Phoenix Western

Western movie The Sisters Brothers, directed by Jacques Audiard and starring Joaquin Phoenix and John C Reilly, filmed Spanish locations as the US of the 1850s.

Western movie The Sisters Brothers, directed by Jacques Audiard and starring Joaquin Phoenix and John C Reilly, filmed Spanish locations as the US of the 1850s.

The story follows outlaw brothers Charlie and Eli Sisters as they hunt a prospector at the height of the California Gold Rush.

Spanish filming for Joaquin Phoenix Western
The Sisters Brothers

Audiard and his team were based in the US but the director was open to Spain as a filming location in order to create a new Western world for the movie.

Selected scenes were shot on a standing Western town set in the Tabernas Desert in the south, but most of the movie was filmed in the Navarra and Zaragoza regions in the north of the country.

Fernando Victoria de Lecea was an executive producer on the film through Menakoz Films of Madrid.

“We started the first location [recce] in 2015 with references from Oregon and California – places where the story really happens,” De Lecea tells KFTV.

The Sisters Brothers

The scouting team was asked to look for locations that offered 360-degree panoramas without any modern developments.

“When people think of Spain and a Western, automatically everyone imagines Almeria and the Tabernas Desert. But a Western is not only desert. In this case there were mountains, forests, rivers, plains [and] valleys – that’s why we also went to the north of Spain, the area of the Pyrenees.”

Small sets were built in the northern locations to faithfully recreate the 1850s setting, including cabins, horse corrals and a gold prospectors’ camp.

“One of the biggest problems was accessing these wilder and more natural places, which forced us to build access for our technical vehicles,” says De Lecea.

The Sisters Brothers

“We were very lucky [with] the weather aspect, since in nine weeks of filming in Spain 99% was shooting outdoors and it only rained one day. And we did not have any problems with any of our horses during that time.

“Of course, we had the help of public administration [officials] and different film commissions and film offices since 80% of our locations were in natural parks or protected areas.”

Spain is becoming a more popular European filming location and has recently hosted scenes for Blake Lively’s upcoming spy thriller The Rhythm Section, as well as a new Terminator movie directed by Deadpool filmmaker Tim Miller.

Netflix is scaling up its operations in the country and recently chose Madrid as the site of its first European production hub.

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in Spain.

Main page image: Annapurna Pictures. Article images: Fernando Victoria de Lecea

Spanish filming for Joaquin Phoenix Western
The Sisters Brothers

Western movie The Sisters Brothers, directed by Jacques Audiard and starring Joaquin Phoenix and John C Reilly, filmed Spanish locations as the US of the 1850s.

The story follows outlaw brothers Charlie and Eli Sisters as they hunt a prospector at the height of the California Gold Rush.

Audiard and his team were based in the US but the director was open to Spain as a filming location in order to create a new Western world for the movie.

Selected scenes were shot on a standing Western town set in the Tabernas Desert in the south, but most of the movie was filmed in the Navarra and Zaragoza regions in the north of the country.

Fernando Victoria de Lecea was an executive producer on the film through Menakoz Films of Madrid.

“We started the first location [recce] in 2015 with references from Oregon and California – places where the story really happens,” De Lecea tells KFTV.

The Sisters Brothers

The scouting team was asked to look for locations that offered 360-degree panoramas without any modern developments.

“When people think of Spain and a Western, automatically everyone imagines Almeria and the Tabernas Desert. But a Western is not only desert. In this case there were mountains, forests, rivers, plains [and] valleys – that’s why we also went to the north of Spain, the area of the Pyrenees.”

Small sets were built in the northern locations to faithfully recreate the 1850s setting, including cabins, horse corrals and a gold prospectors’ camp.

“One of the biggest problems was accessing these wilder and more natural places, which forced us to build access for our technical vehicles,” says De Lecea.

The Sisters Brothers

“We were very lucky [with] the weather aspect, since in nine weeks of filming in Spain 99% was shooting outdoors and it only rained one day. And we did not have any problems with any of our horses during that time.

“Of course, we had the help of public administration [officials] and different film commissions and film offices since 80% of our locations were in natural parks or protected areas.”

Spain is becoming a more popular European filming location and has recently hosted scenes for Blake Lively’s upcoming spy thriller The Rhythm Section, as well as a new Terminator movie directed by Deadpool filmmaker Tim Miller.

Netflix is scaling up its operations in the country and recently chose Madrid as the site of its first European production hub.

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in Spain.

Main page image: Annapurna Pictures. Article images: Fernando Victoria de Lecea

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