“Diana” Movie Filmed at Fetcham Park
You know the Shell Room as the perfect place to share drinks with friends and family, but back in August of 2012 it became the green room during an epic week during which Hollywood came to Surrey.
After five site meetings with location managers, including a final visit from director Oliver Hirschbiegel, Fetcham Park was selected to be the setting for the Ritz scenes in the new Diana” movie starring Naomi Watts.
Our beautiful gold-leaf detailing, ornate plasterwork, fireplaces, and décor proved to be the perfect match for the Imperial Suite – one of the finest suites in the hotel, overlooking the Place Vendome – and it’s wonderful to know that the rooms so beloved of our couples have now been immortalised on film.
With numerous deliveries, 6 days of wall-papering, lighting changes and the construction of a ‘marble’ bathroom, the set was finally ready and our beautiful rooms were transformed into one of the world’s most iconic hotels.
And as if that wasn’t dramatic enough, day was turned into night and one end of the house covered in scaffolding so that they could create the night-time atmosphere the scene required.
Yet despite all this and the months of planning that went into just minutes of filming, no one outside of the house knew that we were home to a large crew, a Hollywood superstar and the filming of a scene that would prove to be pivotal to both the beginning and end of the film.
Calm descended on the morning of the shoot as we waited for the leading lady to arrive and a tangible buzz filled the house as her chauffeur driven Mercedes approached the house. Blonde hair, bright red lips and a white towelling robe glanced past us as she was whisked into the green room to prepare for her scenes.
Seeing the director at work, walking the set, holding a pretend camera to his face and actually “seeing” the set as it would be filmed was surreal. The sound of chatter across walkie-talkies crackled and quelled, silenced by the A.D. announcing a take.
As much as we were merely hosts for the shoot, it was an honour to be invited by Mr Hirschbiegel to watch them film and then to view the rushes of the footage they’d taken during their time at the house. And we also had the pleasure of speaking with Miss Watts and presenting her a gift from all of us at the house; a beautiful bouquet fromBloomin’gayles and our favourite Mitchell & Peach products.
And, just like our own attention to detail, we watched as a scene had to be re-shot due to the door opening into the “bedroom”" during a take. In fact, having a person dedicated to continuity helped overcome issues of linking scenes being filmed elsewhere outside of Fetcham.
The huge number of trucks, scaffolding equipment, cameras, catering, trailers for actors and gazebos on the terrace that acted as mini studios completely transformed the house and yet seeing our furniture used as props felt a little bit like Fetcham Park winking through its disguise.
Of course, we couldn’t let our brief moment on the silver screen pass without marking it. If you look closely at our heritage door panel, you may just catch the autographs of one Naomi Watts and Oliver Hirschbiegel.
At exactly 7.06pm filming ended with the iconic words, “It’s a wrap!” By 8pm they were all gone and the set was left just as it had been for filming, allowing us to spend time there and savour the moment. And just 24 hours later the house returned to normal with only the Zoffany wallpaper in the Drawing Room – a beautiful reminder of a very special moment in the life of Fetcham Park.