The producers of Joaquin Phoenix’s Napoleon biopic had agreed to use Westminster Cathedral for filming
Image: Getty Images)
A Hollywood film crew got into an unholy feud with the Catholic Church over plans to turn Westminster Cathedral into a replica of the Kremlin.
The producers of Joaquin Phoenix’s Napoleon biopic had agreed to use the cathedral for filming.
But church bosses got hot and pulled the plug.
Insiders said they were afraid the site’s switch to Russian could cause offense during Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Apple TV crew, led by legendary Alien director Ridley Scott, have been forced to scrap their lavish sets and sources said the scenes would be shot using CGI instead – which would reportedly cost £500,000.
It is understood that some reduced filming was still done without the planned sets.
A source said: “The idea of turning such a historic religious site into something so closely associated with Putin would clearly become problematic. A decision was made that it just couldn’t happen.
“This is a blockbuster production and the reversal caused a bit of a fuss, to say the least.”
The Kremlin was the historical seat of the Tsars and was occupied by Napoleon when he invaded Russia in 1812 – an incident that will likely feature in the new film.
The 119-year-old cathedral is designed in a Byzantine style similar to Russian churches.
It is the center of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales and was the surprising site of Boris Johnson’s wedding to Carrie Symonds last May.
Pope Francis has called the war in Ukraine “cruel and senseless” and church leaders are desperate to distance themselves from the Russian regime.
This is a popular location for film crews and has served as a backdrop for Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Foreign Correspondent.
Joker and the Gladiator star Joaquin, 47, was dressed up as the spitting image of the 19th-century conqueror of Europe during filming in Greenwich last month.
The film, dubbed Napoleon, chronicles the French war leader’s rise to power and is slated for release on Apple’s streaming service next year.
Westminster Cathedral and AppleTV have been asked for comment.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/plans-turn-boris-johnson-wedding-26781629 Plans to turn Boris Johnson's wedding church into a replica Kremlin for film have been scrapped