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PRODUCTION Spain / UK / Saudi Arabia

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Agustí Villaronga preparing his new film, Born a King


- The historical film will be shot in English, in London and Saudi Arabia, and is being staged on the Spanish side by prolific, Oscar-winning veteran producer Andrés Vicente Gómez

Agustí Villaronga preparing his new film, Born a King
Director Agustí Villaronga (© Lorenzo Pascasio)

When Agustí Villaronga met up with Cineuropa to discuss his recent film Uncertain Glory [+see also:
film focus
interview: Agustí Villaronga
film profile
, which was released in Spain earlier this month, he told us: “I’m spending long periods in London because my next movie will be shot in both England and Saudi Arabia: I’m putting the finishing touches to the casting and the pre-production/locations. It takes place in the 1920s, when there was a desire to unify Saudi Arabia: England supplied weapons to all of the tribes so that they would fight among themselves. It will cover the childhood of the future King Faisal, who went to England as a child to resolve the conflict. He is a boy of 14 or 15 who is suddenly opened up to the world: he went from the desert to the cosmopolitan city of London, where a tap with running water was already quite a discovery. And he had to grapple with English diplomacy, which was a real nest of vipers.”

Villaronga is talking about Born a King, a Spanish co-production (by Lolafilms, headed up by Andrés Vicente Gómez) with the UK (Celtic Films Entertainment) and Saudi Arabia. The shoot will kick off in May and will continue in London in June, before carrying on in Saudi Arabia in October, owing to the high temperatures that would pose an obstacle in the summer months. The screenplay was written by Henry Fitzherbert: “It’s an immense film, something like four times as big as those I’ve made so far, as it even includes battle scenes,” remarks Villaronga. “I’m very excited about it! It’s a real adventure: I said no to the producer twice because I was apprehensive about Saudi Arabia, but now I love going there. And I’m improving my English,” explains the Majorcan filmmaker.

Andrés Vicente Gómez, who has more than 100 films and TV series under his belt as a producer, as well as an Oscar for Best Foreign-language Film in 1992 for Belle Epoque, is the main driving force behind this ambitious project: “Andrés and I have tried to work together twice in the past: he suggested The Consul of Sodom to me, but I couldn’t do it, because I was working on Black Bread [+see also:
film profile
, and then a project starring Vincent Cassel and Monica Belucci, about child abuse within the family, which didn’t come off either. Now, finally, we have the chance to work together,” a clearly excited Villaronga sums up.

(Translated from Spanish)

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