This week’s behind-the-scenes video looks at the location shoot in Epping Forest. Cast and crew including Duran Fulton Brown (Hunter) discuss the huge fight sequence that was staged amongst the trees of this ancient woodland.
After scouting locations closer to Ren‘s Cambridgeshire production base, director Kate Madison made the decision to return to Epping Forest, on the edge of north-east London. The area of the forest around Debden House campsite had portrayed Middle Earth woodland in scenes from Kate’s earlier film Born of Hope, and would now become part of Alathia.
The Epping shoot was pushed back by a week after poor weather was forecast; mud would create issues of costume continuity with many actors having to fall on the ground in their action scenes. Unfortunately the weather was happy to wait a week, and the cast and crew arrived on a rainy Monday morning.
After a few daylight shots, lamps were set up for the big nighttime scene which opens episode one. The rain continued unabated, which made for great images but miserable working conditions. A satisfied but thoroughly soaked Ren team trooped back to their Debden House accommodation at around midnight. (Check out our earlier BTS video about shooting in and around the rain, if you missed it.)
Tuesday was much drier, and work continued steadily on fight and dialogue scenes for the next three days. Many fight performers and extras joined the principal actors to portray Kah’Nath soldiers, forming a formidable rank of foes for Hunter and Lyanna.
On Wednesday night, the cast and crew – who by this, their fourth week of Ren, had bonded strongly – squeezed into a cozy bedroom at Debden House to watch The Lego Movie, a well-earned bit of R&R. “Everything is awesome” – soon corrupted to “everything is broken” – subsequently became the catchphrase of the shoot.
The team returned to Caxton on Friday knowing that, despite getting some great footage, a few crucial shots had eluded them due to time constraints. Actress Dita Tantang’s dislocated shoulder – an injury suffered just before joining the shoot – had also prevented the crew from recording as many of Lyanna’s fights as planned. Accordingly, three weeks later, the Ren production returned to Epping for an extra two days.
These pick-up days saw the use of gaffer Richard Robert’s quadcopter drone to shoot dramatic aerial angles of the Kah’Nath army chasing Lyanna through the trees. With those – and crucial shots of Ren – in the can, the cast and crew departed Epping Forest for the last time on November 7th 2014.