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The Woman In Black: A spooktacular movie role for stately home

Daniel Radcliffe during filming of The Woman In Black at Cotterstock Hall near Oundle. Photo: Nick Wall

Daniel Radcliffe during filming of The Woman In Black at Cotterstock Hall near Oundle. Photo: Nick Wall

THE stars of forthcoming blockbuster horror film ‘The Woman In Black’ have praised the stately home near Oundle they used as its haunted house.

Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe led the praise for Cotterstock Hall, which was transformed into an overgrown haunted house for filming The Woman In Black.

The film will be released next month and the foreboding house is key to providing a Gothic, hair-raising backdrop to the thriller.

The popular actor has spoken of his delight that the manor near Peterborough was chosen as the film’s location.

Daniel said: “Cotterstock Hall is a remarkable building bursting with Gothic grandeur – perfect for The Woman In Black.

“It is hard to imagine anywhere more apt for that all important first atmospheric sight of Eel Marsh House.”

The £15 million film will be the first time Susan Hill’s 1983 novel of the same name has been brought to the silver screen.

It sees a young lawyer (Radcliffe) travel to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorising the locals.

The real Cotterstock Hall is still a residential home and the cast were only able to film there for three days in September 2010. The set was recreated at the world-renowned Pinewood Studios for more filming later.

Director James Watkins sent location scouts all over the country to find suitable settings for the house.

But when he saw pictures of the Oundle home, James was taken by its appearance and decided to set the scary film there.

James said: “We were there for three days in the summer. Obviously as a haunted house film, it is very important to get that location right.

“It had a real vibe about it and it almost looked like it has eyes. I thought it helped create that sense of dread.

“The problem was it was kept in too good a state by the owners! We had to put weeds over the immaculate lawn and make the front of the house have ivy and things like that.”

Although James won’t give too much away about the story so as not to spoil the film for audiences, he did say the parts filmed in Oundle included a cast of a dozen children in pouring rain.

He added: “We brought along our own water because the drops need to be very heavy to show up on film.

“The problem was it was raining when we were there anyway, so we all got quite drenched.

“But the setting was absolutely perfect. The location scouts trawled the whole country and took pictures at other places we could have used.

“As soon as I saw the photos of Cotterstock Hall I knew it would be great for us.

“Luckily, the location manager was able to do a deal with the owners and we were able to use it.”

The film will be released in UK cinemas on Friday, February 10.

The real thing in right location

PRIME Minister David Cameron caused controversy last week when he said British filmmakers should focus on commercial success.

Critics said it implied a compromise on artistic merit.

The Woman In Black director James Watkins said he would never trade in the real life Cotterstock Hall for a computer generated representation, even if it made the film more box-office friendly.

James said: “It has split opinion and obviously directors want as many people as possible to watch their films.

“But in this example, Cotterstock Hall was the perfect location and I wouldn’t trade it in for some fancy graphics that could be more supernatural and get more viewers.

“It wouldn’t be right for the film, and that is the number one concern.

“I think America has a great mythology about its landscape and we need to do the same here.

“Hopefully people will see Cotterstock Hall and see there are great places like that where we can film in Britain, rather than creating things on blue screens.”

 

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