Valhalla Rising doubles Scotland for Canada
New Viking drama Valhalla Rising has shot in previously un-filmed parts of Scotland and has also used the country to double for Canada. The film is set in 1100AD and tells the story of a mute warrior who escapes from enslavement and eventually finds himself on a boat to the Promised Land in the company of Christian soldiers.
A series of remote filming locations were chosen around Glen Kinglas in Argyllshire, western Scotland. Glen Affric, in the Highlands west of Loch Ness, was used to double for Canada as it offers a 600 million-year-old forest that is the oldest of its kind in Europe. This dates to before the continental drift when North America and Europe were part of the same continent, and closely resembles a Canadian landscape.
Karyn Smyth, a Producer with La Belle Allee, which also serviced the production, said: “After deciding the locations would be the production design, the filmmakers wanted as much depth of field as possible and the way to achieve that was by going as high into the mountains as we could. Here you could see into infinity and also have no signs of modernity.”
Access proved a challenge as much of the shooting in Glen Kinglas took place on high mountain peaks. Duncan Muggoch, the film’s Location Manager, said: “The locations were hard to access and 50-60% of the time we had to use all-terrain vehicles to get everyone up there.”
Weather was one of the main factors affecting the shoot, given the remoteness of the locations and the altitudes at which they were filming. The production was plagued by rain and high winds, but shooting continued regardless as the film was entirely outdoors and could not wait for good weather.
The result was that La Belle Allee ended up having to make an insurance claim on their RED Camera. Ms Smyth said: “Our RED camera began to show signs of superficial rust! We just kept going however as the conditions off-camera reflected the journey being made by the characters on-camera.”
She concluded: “The director and his DoP were determined to go to the most extreme places possible.”
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