PC Art Director Discusses Beruna Bridge Sequence
Animated-Views has posted their third and final interview with Prince Caspian art director Frank Walsh. The article discusses the logistics of building the Beruna Bridge and includes technical diagrams for the rerouting of the river. It’s a fascinating read.
AV: First of all, how did you manage to find the right location for the shooting?
FW: Extensive scouting worldwide produced a river and valley in Slovenia matching the scale of Andrew’s vision, and the other large vistas he was going to shoot in New Zealand. The Bovec River fed by glacier melt is a truly breath taking location, and I first visited it with Andrew and Roger Ford, the production designer, in early winter. The river swollen, by the snowmelt, was almost a raging torrent, some 60 metres wide and around 4-5 metres deep in the centre. I recall standing in the middle of a group of producers, all eyes on me, as I contemplated if it was a fools undertaking or not: not quiet sure they believed me when I said it was achievable. Not too sure I was totally convinced, but I felt confident that I had a good team around me to make it happen.
An ambitious, not to say dangerous, undertaking that was going to be additionally complicated by severe restrictions such as difficult access, its close proximity to national parkland and local downstream habitation. The major stipulations, by the authorities, being that we could not introduce any materials that might endanger the environs ecologically. Anything built, then had to be removed entirely afterwards, leaving no trace, and any construction undertaken would have to withstand the potential ‘hundred year’ climatic catastrophe that might endanger any communities downstream.
Towards the end of Prince Caspian there is a climactic scene where the Telmarine Army, lead by King Miraz, march against the Narnians. Andrew Adamson, the director wanted to precede the final battle by setting Miraz the challenging task of having to ford a monstrous river to reach his enemy. In much the same way Julius Caesar, in 56BC, had taken his army against the Germanic tribes by a building bridge across the Rhine, so Andrew set us the task of achieving the same for his film. Caesar accomplished this task allegedly in 10 days; we had 40, accompanied by the predictable ‘flood’.