Greenwich doubles up as eighteenth century Paris

One of the biggest reasons why I love this city is that you never know what you’ll see or what will happen next. This morning I wasn’t feeling quite myself, so I thought I would take a walk to Greenwich. The route there is a pleasant one, across Blackheath and through Greenwich park. From there I was planning to go along the Thames for a bit, but as I was going through the park I began to notice large white lorries and film-making equipment parked there. “Aha,” I thought “Things may have just become interesting.”

I went down the hill into Greenwich. There were signs telling the public there was a film shoot going on in the Old Naval College, and warning us about horses and cannon fire. Intrigued, I headed for the college. It naturally reminded me of the time I came upon a film shoot in Charlton Park, and ended up meeting Danny Boyle. If anything, though, this one looked bigger: there was production equipment everywhere, horses, and people walking around in eighteenth century costume.

I rolled into the college grounds, but you could only go so far as the buildings were fenced off and guarded by a security guy. Nonetheless I could still see quite a bit, and judging by the costumes and equipment, this was a sizable production.

I stopped and decided to hang around there for a while; I had a feeling that something awesome might happen. As I usually do in such situations, I tried to start talking to those around me in order to find out what was going on. It turned out they were making a film about Napoleon, with Greenwich doubling up as eighteenth century Paris. But when I asked about the director, my jaw hit the ground. It was none other than one of the greatest directors ever, and one of the first auteurs I ever studied academically: Ridley Scott!

With that I decided to hang around for a bit: meeting the director of Blade Runner would be incredible. Cast and crew (and horses) were going in and out of the set. From what I could see, it was quite a huge production with some very expensive looking equipment. I got talking to one of the production assistants (I think) showing him my blog and Youtube films. I thought that if I stayed there long enough, there was a chance I could meet Scott like I met Danny Boyle.

But then I realised something rather problematic: I couldn’t actually remember what Ridley Scott looks like. After all, he isn’t someone I look at very often. I knew Boyle from his many TV appearances, but would I be able to recognise Scott if I saw him. Then there was the fact that there were so many other members of the public around, I doubted the director would want to come out to meet me. That, coupled with the fact that I was getting hungry, meant that I decided to come home at about half three. I might not have met another of the great filmmakers, but it was still an awesome day watching a film crew do their stuff. Part of me thinks I ought to have stayed there longer, but then, I can’t have everything my way, can I? After all, there’s always tomorrow.

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