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Hedsor House in Taplow was setting for Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut Quartet, featuring Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, and Michael Gambon
AN HISTORIC Buckinghamshire house has provided the setting for Dustin Hoffman's debut as a director.
The Hollywood actor's film Quartet, featuring Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, and Michael Gambon, has been premièring this week.
The role of Hedsor House, the main setting point for the movie, has been revealed as the production team discussed the making at the annual London Film Festival.
Situated in Taplow, the building is set in parkland which dates back to 1166 and has been frequently used by royalty – including George III.
The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman, was also partly shot there in recent years.
The team behind Hoffman's first foray into directing explained they settled on Hedsor House because it offered the range of environments the production required.
Described as a bitter-sweet comedy, the film, also stars Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay and Sheridan Smith.
The acting cast got together for a question and answer session as the film launched at this week's festival last night. The event was chaired by film critic Quentin Falk, from Little Marlow.
Beecham House is the fictitious name the building takes on.
Production designer Andrew McAlpine said: “I'd thought Beecham House was going to be more lyrical; more feminine. This is a very masculine, block house. But it's ideal in the sense that it tells you that it is what it is.”
Mr McAlpine and his crew built a summerhouse in the grounds to add architecture to the external environment, and focused on autumnal colours that would reflect the characters' continued lives. The house and its contents were shaped by a desire to give its residents all their home comforts.
But even though most of the shoot took place at the House, its popularity as a wedding venue meant the crew were forced to deal with some tricky logistics.
Producer Finola Dwyer said: “We had to pull every piece of kit out of the house on Friday night, and have it all back in to be ready to shoot at 8 o’clock Monday morning.
“It was huge for the art department, but you have to look at it as a film with several different locations, and every Friday we have to pack up and go somewhere new.”
The film opens officially in the UK on January 1, 2013.
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