The 4-part series of Titanic scheduled to air next year on its centenary begins production today!
Observer: An exhibition at the O2 in London, has been seen by more than 22 million people worldwide in 17 years. Julian Fellowes was inspired by some of the thousands of poignant possessions recovered from the seabed. "You suddenly get such a flash of real men, real women, real children, all [going across] the ocean for their different reasons. Looking at [these objects], their death is all the more moving."
The mini-series will not seek to equal Cameron's special effects, Fellowes said. "So it is a more human look at the picture. One of the great advantages of television is that you have much more time. You can develop these other characters that would probably be [condensed] … and discarded if you were having to fit into the 100-minute format."
Bravery, courage and bad behaviour, he says, were demonstrated by members of each of the classes on board: "Some people are tremendously heroic and some people are not. That was as true in first as in second, as in steerage." But he added that the officers "were a pretty admirable bunch on the whole".
"Normally you have to sit through the whole thing before the boat sinks. We sink it every week. But only in the last episode do we find out who lives and who dies." [Fellowes, Seattle Times]
From ITV's PRESS RELEASE:
"Lookout Point, ITV Studios, Deep Indigo Productions, Sienna Films and Mid Atlantic Films announce the first day of principal photography on TITANIC. The all-star ensemble miniseries from the creative minds of Nigel Stafford – Clark and Julian Fellowes will be shot over ten-weeks in Budapest and on location around the city.
Written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes and directed by Jon Jones (Northanger Abbey, Diary of Anne Frank), the 4 x 60’ series is produced by Nigel Stafford-Clark (Bleak House, The Passion) and Chris Thompson (The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Love Actually).
TITANIC is the extraordinary re-telling of that doomed voyage, cleverly weaving action, mystery and romantic plots featuring fictional and historical characters, before coming together in an explosive and unforgettable finale.
TITANIC was originated by Nigel Stafford-Clark’s Deep Indigo Productions and international co-production specialist Lookout Point, who teamed up with ITV Studios to further develop the project. Working with distributor ITV Studios Global Entertainment, the project has since attracted a host of global partners including US Network ABC and ITV1, the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster. The project is produced as a treaty co-production between the UK, Hungary and Canada.
Simon Vaughan, Chief Executive of Lookout Point and Executive Producer of TITANIC explains, “The goal is to mount a global co-production that does not look or feel like one. The material itself straddles the world. Working with ITV Studios Global Entertainment we have pulled together over a dozen separate sources of finance – but we are producing a miniseries with a clear creative voice: an authored piece from a wonderful creative team.”
Julian Fellowes has a unique take on the story presenting a rounded, human version of life on board the ship, encapsulating the society in which she existed and providing a comprehensive portrayal of all the passengers and crew. Whilst James Cameron’s 1997 film was primarily a love story between the two central characters, Fellowes was inspired by the hundreds of poignant untold stories of those aboard and the miniseries will show the bravery, courage and sometimes bad behavior demonstrated by all sorts of passengers and crew, using both fictionalized and real-life characters.
Following on from Gosford Park and Downton Abbey, TITANIC will feature Fellowes’s trademark ensemble cast of leading stage and screen actors, flowing camerawork and interweaving multi-arc storylines, as viewers get to know the multi-class, multi-nationality characters, brought to life by a huge company of no less than 89 actors, including Linus Roache, Celia Imrie, Toby Jones, Geraldine Somerville and Timothy West.
Production designer Rob Harris (Generation Kill, Hornblower, The Devil’s Whore) has created an extraordinary 2-tier set, housing a 60m promenade deck, 50m boat deck, 4 working lifeboats, 2 collapsible lifeboats, the ship’s bridge and pursers’ offices, stairways, 75m of interior corridors and over a dozen separate interior rooms - from boiler rooms to dining rooms, third-class bunkrooms to first-class suites. Director Jon Jones says, “It’s an incredible, evocative playing space. We have built a huge section of the ship, that is jam packed with a warren of rooms arranged to allow us a sense that we have the run of the ship. Once you enter the studio, it is like boarding the ship - you get a real sense of the space. We want to get to grips with how it really was to be confined in a tiny cabin in steerage – or effortlessly ensconced in a First Class stateroom. Our set allows us to really enter that world.”
To deliver the key water sequences, the team has built the biggest indoor tank in mainland Europe, on the outskirts of Budapest. This vast 900m2 water tank features a sliding immersible section of the ship’s deck and interior, and a huge 360º green screen backdrop.
A project of this scale cannot be achieved without CGI, the storylines include scenes in London, the shipyard in Ireland, and the Southampton departure dock and on to open water. VFX Supervisor Tom Turnbull of Rocket Science (The Nativity, The Day of the Triffids, National Treasure) is recreating the huge gantry cranes and the imposing cathedral-like brick and sandstone Victorian building which housed Harland & Wolff’s headquarters, and of course the arresting sight of the grandest ship ever built."