Blog - News

May 14, 2024

By Filming in England

Russia, 1922.  

The country is still in the midst of its historic revolution – which ended centuries of imperial rule. Political and social upheaval is taking place throughout one of the world’s largest and most powerful nations. This is the most significant change in Russia for a long time. 

Fast forward to 2016 and we get a glimpse into this tumultuous, fascinating period of history through the award-winning American author Amor Towles and his novel A Gentleman in Moscow. Telling a unique story of a Russian count and aristocrat who is sentenced by a Bolshevik tribunal to a lifetime of confinement in a luxury hotel, the tale allows an accurate look into the times of one of the biggest milestones in 20th century history.  

Fast forward, once again, to March 2024 – and the text has been adapted for television and released on the streamer Paramount Plus, having been produced by Moon River, Entertainment One and  Popcorn Storm. The series follows Ewan McGregor’s Count Rostov and his magical journey throughout the adapted source material.  

Join us as we take a closer look at some of the locations which feature in A Gentleman in Moscow… 

© Paramount+

Filming in England were approached by the team behind A Gentleman in Moscow in 2022, supporting the production by finding locations, crew and suppliers for the shoot. National Crew and Facilities Manager, Sam Rifkin, comments: 

“From a crewing perspective, our work on A Gentleman in Moscow is unique for its extended timespan. Discourse with the production began in 2022, which stretched into late 2023 – the US SAG-AFTRA Strikes of course impacted lots of production schedules, and so several departments understandably saw people come and go. Throughout that time, we helped the production source various crew from all experience levels, and we’re lucky to say we were able to secure work for freelancers during a period when it was notoriously quiet.” 

Filming in England’s new Production Liaison Manager for the North West and Midlands, Chelsea Foster, reflects on her time supporting this exciting shoot: 

“I was very fortunate to be granted two weeks of shadowing experience on this incredible production during my time in freelance production management. I had just finished the book and to see it come to life before me was an experience like no other. The hard work of the fantastic teams across the production as well as at Filming in England and the various locations is a testament to this remarkable visualisation of Amor Towles’ story.  

Being able to showcase some of the brilliant and unique locations of North West and Yorkshire and transform them into revolution-era Russia is something that has stuck with me since my time on this project. I am so excited to be able to now be able to help Locations & Production teams find the right places for them to bring even more exciting stories to life!” 

© Paramount+

The task of producing and shooting this vast drama is large in many ways – thankfully, challenges of such scale are not new to the talented professionals and services that work in England’s regional HETV sector. The production was based in Space Studios, a 850,000 sqft studio facility in Manchester, where interiors for the Metropol hotel in Moscow were built. We spoke to Dean Sinacola, Stage Manager at Space Studios: 

‘The size and scale of the amazing set brought in construction teams and trades people from all across the Northwest and beyond, so it was a great testament to the regions crew base. With 95% of the story being based on the set everything had to be right. We worked with the production team to try and meet every request. With large areas of our backlot also being used as other sections of the Hotel, from the beautiful gas lamp lit grand exterior and entrance to the snow covered roof tops, the production utilised every corner of the site. The time and effort from all involved really shines through on screen and proves the scale of production the region is able to produce.’ 

For the on-location shoot, the Locations Department had to source locations within commutable distances of their base at the studio. Alex Tridimas, Location Manager, told us all about their work on this unique show: 

“A Gentleman in Moscow was amongst the largest dramas to film in the North West and Yorkshire.  A fabulously interesting job, from the brilliant source material to the types of locations that needed to be found. 

Scouting the type of architecture we needed was often the most interesting aspect: The old, the grand, the dilapidated and ostentatious, amounted to a fascinating architectural tour of the regions.  

Both finding locations and then managing large scale filming there requires a tremendous amount of work: Whether it was local knowledge on where to go, advice on how things work, or introductions to the right people, Filming in England is a vital resource for us, having their support and guidance in all matters is invaluable to the point of necessity in many instances. 

We see Filming in England as promoter and facilitator, their dual interest bringing more work into their regions whilst opening many doors for us to work effectively.  Their range of knowledge across public and private sectors is hugely supportive and something we appreciate greatly.” 

Bolton Town Hall, Bolton UK

Bolton Town Centre, Greater Manchester 

Bolton Council facilitated a large shoot in Bolton Town Centre which, remarkably, doubles as Moscow Square. Whilst Bolton have supported some of the country’s biggest dramas (Peaky Blinders, Fool Me Once, It’s A Sin, Sherwood, Brassic and Passenger amongst many, many others), this was one of the biggest yet. We spoke to Steve Bailey at Bolton Council: 

“This was a very rewarding and beneficial experience and put Bolton on the map for a bit. The scale and grandeur of it was up a notch or two from the stock revenue we get in Bolton so gave us a bit of Hollywood sparkle, and the crew (complete with Bolton’s own Ian Findlay as Location Manager) were a pleasure to work with. 

Even though the footprint was significant and there was a lot of ‘moving parts’ to this production, it all went relatively smooth and we didn’t have any difficulties or undue challenges with the production being in Bolton. 

Everybody was talking about it and the huge green screen across Victoria square definitely made it feel like there was something very significant happening in Bolton.” 

Tatton Park © Tatton Park

Tatton Park, Cheshire 

Tatton Park is a historic estate with an 18th century mansion, 50 acres of land and a medieval hall on site. Having accommodated Peaky Blinders and Coronation Street, they are a popular location within Cheshire. We spoke to Graham Jones, Visitor & Commercial Operations Manager at Tatton Park, about their experience with A Gentleman in Moscow:  

“The production for A Gentleman in Moscow whilst at Tatton went really well from working with friendly locations managers to having a production team who seemed to care about Tatton and the collection. It was great to have a couple of regular faces who we have built a good working relationship with.   

With such a big crew there are always changes to plans but they were great to work with from an operational point of view, if anything needed moved/checked they were on it straight away. We hope the location looks as good on screen as it did in real life when filming!” 

St George’s Hall

Liverpool

Liverpool has become an increasing popular location for productions, playing key roles in The Batman, Munich: The Edge of War and Breaking Point (film, 2022).  

In A Gentleman in Moscow, Liverpool Town Hall doubles Paris in one of Count Rostov’s flashback scenes. As well as the Town Hall, the production also shot in St George’s Hall and World Museum, with filming facilitated by the team at Liverpool Film Office, who support filming in Merseyside. 

Yorkshire 

Yorkshire has a lot to offer for filming, having hosted international franchises Harry Potter and Mission: Impossible and much-loved TV series The Witcher and All Creatures Great and Small.  

The team behind A Gentleman in Moscow made use of the county’s diverse offerings, using locations in Leeds and Halifax and in Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, supported by Screen Yorkshire.  

© Paramount+

Across the English regions, the Filming in England team are on hand to facilitate high-end TV and feature film productions, working with local and regional partners. To find out more, explore our website or get in touch today at production@creativeengland.co.uk