In a time of enchantments when legends and magic collide, the sole remaining warrior of a mystical order (Oscar winner Jeff Bridges of True Grit, Iron Man) travels to find a prophesized hero born with incredible powers, the last Seventh Son (Ben Barnes of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Stardust). Torn from his quiet life as a farmhand, the unlikely young hero embarks on a daring adventure with his battle-hardened mentor to vanquish a dark queen (Julianne Moore) and the army of supernatural assassins she has dispatched against their kingdom.
Starring alongside Bridges, Barnes and Moore is a top-notch supporting cast that includes Kit Harington (television’s Game of Thrones, Pompeii) as Bradley, Tom’s predecessor and Gregory’s most trusted protégé; Olivia Williams (Anna Karenina, The Sixth Sense) as Mam Ward, Tom’s beloved mother who holds secrets of her own; Antje Traue (Man of Steel, Pandorum) as Bony Lizzie, Alice’s magical mother, as well as the Queen’s beloved sister and trusted confidant; Jason Scott Lee (Balls of Fury, Soldier) as Urag, one of Malkin’s fiercest lieutenants; and Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy, upcoming Furious 7) as Radu, a blade-wielding warlock with the power to transform into a raging creature of darkness.
To film the epic action-adventure, production utilized several locations around Alberta and British Columbia. The eerie landscape of Drumheller, Alberta, served as the film’s opening location: the site of Mother Malkin’s imprisonment. Nearby Kananaskis Country’s Fortress Mountain, with its mesa on top and unique geology, stood in for Pendle Mountain, where Malkin rallies her lieutenants. In B.C., the remote Widgeon Slough, nestled in the coastal mountains of Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, served multiple duties—with its large freshwater marsh, nearby river and grassy plains that give way to the rainforest. As well, Lynn Canyon, only minutes away from the soundstages in Vancouver, provided the essential backdrop to the critical ambush scene in which Gregory is captured by Radu. Producer Iwanyk explains why Lynn Canyon was so crucial to the film: “It was important to get the right place because this is where Gregory gets captured. Gregory is probably the greatest Falcon Knight in the history of the Knights, and even though he’s been outnumbered in the past, he had never been captured before. We designed a sequence where they are ambushed on a cliff, so there’s nowhere to run. In Lynn Canyon, there are caverns and cliffs with great drops into chasms that are dangerous, and we needed that danger in the location…while still being safe.” Perhaps the most memorable location, though, was Ward farm, built on the beach of the ethereal Minaty Bay, on the eastern shore of nearby Howe Sound. In the picturesque isolated bay, the design team assembled the pieces of the Ward homestead, constructed to resemble a small subsistence farm built on the ruins of an earlier, possibly Roman, farm.
“Conceptually, we based it on a Norwegian-style cabin,” says art director Ross Dempster (Godzilla, The Grey), “but built on a foundation of stone ruins. Imagine a shotgun shack where you have one door in and, straight ahead, you have the rear door out. It’s an open space where they live, eat and sleep. There’s a stove and large fireplace to keep everybody warm.” Outside there are several livestock—piglets, sows and some cows—in a barn, also built on stone ruins, and in pens fenced with twigs woven into lattice. The set took about 12 weeks to complete, begun in studio then assembled in situ and dressed over a period of about six weeks.
In addition to the natural beauty of the locations, everyone agrees the film truly shines with production designer Dante Ferretti’s extraordinary studio sets. The sets were some of the largest ever built in Vancouver, and to realize his vision, Ferretti relied upon a dream team consisting of supervising art director Grant van der Slagt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, upcoming Warcraft), art directors Michael Diner (Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Dempster, set decorator Elizabeth Wilcox (Godzilla, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), construction coordinator Doug Hardwick (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2, upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey) and all their crews.
(Source: Seventh Son Production Notes)