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8th January 2018

Englefield Estate backdrop for true story film Breathe

Released in October 2017, Breathe is a visceral but joyful biopic about an upper-class Englishman whose life, and that of his devoted wife, was turned upside down when he was struck down with polio aged 28, leaving him paralysed from the neck down.

Englefield House and grounds provided the backdrop for the opening scene of this heart-warming true story, depicting a classic British cricket pitch in the 1950s and a couple’s first meeting.

The production team at Imaginarium Productions Ltd which produced Breathe, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, lauded the house and grounds for providing the “perfect backdrop for that moment". It set the scene for the aesthetic throughout the movie,” added the Breathe team’s spokesperson.

Breathe documents the life of former Army Captain Robin Cavendish who, after contracting polio, was left only being able to breathe with the use of a ventilator. With support from his beloved wife Diana Blackler, he went on to become a leading advocate for disabled rights.

Because the Benyon family, who own Englefield House, knew Robin, the production team said it made their decision to choose the Estate for its opening scene “even more poignant and special”.

The crew and cast’s first day at Englefield was also their first day of shooting the entire film. “It was quite a special day for the cast and crew to first meet each other and kick off what was to be a wonderful shoot,” said the film’s spokesperson. “The Estate’s extensive grounds gave us the space and freedom to incorporate a game of cricket alongside a large group of spectators showcasing the vibrant 1950s outfits in all their glory, creating a vivid and dynamic visual emulating and enhancing Robin and Diana’s first meeting and lust for life.

“The house sits in the background of the scene, impressive and charming,” continued the production team spokesperson. “Both the dynamic visuals and the house itself set the tone of the film, the opulence for life which both Robin and Diana possess, and the start of their deep and utter devotion for one another.”

With its “photogenic” high ceilings, huge windows, striking original features and surrounding gardens, Englefield House has the credentials of a full film set.

Its film portfolio includes The King’s Speech and X-Men: First Class. It also has a starring role as Sandringham House in the multi-award-winning Netflix drama series The Crown, and was the location for the 2017 Christmas special of British comedy sports panel game, A League of Their Own.

“The stunning and well looked after location, partnered with the helpful natures of the owners and staff made the location a pleasure to work at each day,” added the Breathe team. “The ease of getting there from central London, and the experience some of the team already had with film and TV shoots at the Estate, made it more efficient and straight forward to get to the action itself. 

“In addition, the spacious grounds and parking facilities allowed for easy access for the various technical vehicles, scene set-ups and crew facilities making this a logistical no brainer”. 

To discuss your filming or photography requirements contact House and Events Manager, Peter Carson on 0118 930 2221 or email peter.carson@englefield.co.uk.

Image courtesy of Imaginarium Productions Ltd.