January 2011

The Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) hits the big screen as the backdrop for three major films in 2011: the recently released The King’s Speech and Gulliver’s Travels and the soon to be released Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

The King’s Speech

Director Tom Hooper chose the Old Royal Naval College as one of the London based film locations to feature in the newly released British historical drama The King's Speech.

Written by David Seidler, The King’s Speech tells the story of King George VI (Colin Firth) who - as second in line to the thrown - leads a quiet life with his wife Elizabeth (Helen Bonham Carter) and two daughters: Elizabeth and Margaret.

Suffering from a nervous stammer since childhood, he accepts the help of unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to overcome his fear of public speaking and to find his voice. Upon the death of his father and the abdication of his brother Edward VIII, he is forced into the limelight and with Lionel’s help gains confidence to rally the country in the outbreak of the Second World War.

Filmed in 2009, the ORNC welcomed Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush on site.  The College buildings feature as the backdrop in a number of scenes.  Look out for one of the site’s iconic domes during Lionel Logue’s journey to Buckingham Palace; where he is about to assist King George VI with his speech on the 1939 declaration of war with Germany.

Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels is a comedy directed by Rob Letterman based on Jonathan Swift’s 18th century classic about a traveler who documents his four journeys in a personal account.  This modern day twist focuses on Gulliver’s first journey to the Kingdom of Lilliput and was top film at the UK and Ireland box offices over New Year.  

In 2009 filming began at the Old Royal Naval College transforming Grand Square into the Lilliput Kingdom where Gulliver, played by Jack Black, is initially captured and later towers over the Lilliputs as their new found hero.  Watch out as Jack Black is joined by Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Billy Connolly, James Corden and Catherine Tate performing a major group dance scene in front of the buildings of the College. 

The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

The fourth part of The Pirates of the Caribbean series On Stranger Tides is set to be released in May 2011. Drawing inspiration from Tim Power’s novel of the same name, it features Johnny Depp reassuming his role as Captain Jack Sparrow searching for the Foundation of Youth and confronting the pirate Blackbeard.

Over six weeks in 2010 the Old Royal Naval College grounds and Painted Hall were transformed into a major film set with blue screens, props and a full replica façade of a medieval royal palace built in the grounds.  60 horses and carriages lined College Way as Johnny Depp and stuntmen doubles filmed dramatic chase scenes.

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