9. December 2010

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The cast and crew of Borgia have wrapped eight weeks of production on the 12-part mini-series being shot in the Czech Republic. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall, Five Minutes of Heaven) will resume production on the show January 10 after a holiday break and shoot two blocks of filming before the end of May. Under the direction of production designer Bernd Lepel (Downfall, Pope Joan), Czech crews have built a nearly exact copy of the Sistine Chapel on a soundstage at Barrandov Studios, recreating such minute details as cracks in the chapel floor. The replica is 1.5 meters narrower than the original. “No one has never seen the Sistine Chapel so empty,” Lepel joked to visitors to the set. The chapel ceiling posed a challenge Lepel and his team. The Borgia story is set in the last years of the 15th century, before Michelangelo painted his famous ceiling frescos. What exactly lies beneath Michelangelo's work is a mystery, but Lepel will create ceiling based on historical sketches. On the Barrandov backlot, Czech crews have built Rome's St. Peter's Square as it appeared in the 15th century, before construction began on St. Peter's Basilica in 1506. The entire backlot set is 1600 square meters and includes narrow lanes and facades which are used for both Rome and Pisa in the production. In the heart of Prague, Lepel has directed crews in an unusual remodeling of the 10 rooms of the 16th century Martinic Palace. Interior walls had been painted white, but producers obtained the approval of local heritage-preservation authorities to have Czech crews repaint the rooms by hand, using Renaissance-era techniques. The building owner is so pleased with the effect that he wants to the rooms to remain as they now are after the production is completed. Borgia is a co-production between Atlantique Production/EOS, Canal + and Etic Films The production was awarded a rebate of CZK 31.5m from the Film Industry Support Programme in 2010.