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The Shoot

The Look 


I had two ideas for the look of the film.

I felt the only way of making the audience believe that they were in Copenhagen, was to shoot some establishing shots with the actors in the real Copenhagen.

Then the characters would flash back, and those empty rooms would suddenly be furnished as 1941. And paradoxically, the 1941 period, set in wartime, would be domestic, warm, filled with flowers, books and furniture, and really look like people were living there.
 

The Cold Look
 
The Warm Look
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Howard Davies on the look of Copenhagen


Copenhagen Location 


Shooting in Copenhagen was a prize... we were able to see where it really happened.

I have Bohr and Margrethe get off a tram and walk toward the house. Heisenberg takes a contemporary train ride into the city, arriving at a station filled with German soldiers. And then I slowly detach the characters from the city, and take them out into the countryside to where the Bohr mansion is.
 

Bohr and Margarethe walking through Copenhagen
 
Heisenberg arriving by train in Copenhagen


The English Mansion 


Then we flew back to England and went to work at this mansion. It was actually a rather terrible, ugly English pile of bricks, which if you look at the front, its very long and very wide, but if you look at the side elevation, it looks remarkably like Bohr's house in Copenhagen.

Even the rooms were similar, through the rooms in the English mansion were slightly larger, which gives the film a kind of epic scale that fits the nature of the drama. So the empty piano room is huge and echoing, and the film really does benefit from that scale.
 

Mansion in England
 
Mansion in Copenhagen


Scoring the Film 


When you translate something from the stage to screen, you have to take onboard a composer's contribution.

Having discovered that Heisenberg played the piano, and played it rather well, there are two scenes that I located around his piano playing. And during these two scenes, Heisenberg is playing a piece of Schubert that Dominic Muldowney, the composer, picked out.

Dominic then composed material, springing off from the Schubert piece, creating three or four themes running throughout the film. Anchoring the score in the idea that Heisenberg played music worked very well. The music feels integral to the film, rather than slapped on at the end.
 

Heisenberg playing the Piano
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Director Howard Davies

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