Film news

London locations supported the powerful performance of Orlando Bloom in Romans

17th April 2018

Opening in the Netherlands on April 26th, Orlando Bloom’s performance in Romans has won over critics at film festivals across the world.

Here’s the trailer. Co-director Paul Shammasian has said the film boasts, “… a powerful performance by Orlando Bloom and a great supporting cast, especially from Janet Montgomery who is one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with.”

Orlando Bloom plays Malky, a construction worker raped by a priest as a child, who is currently demolishing a church. In the shadow of a large crucifix, each strike of the hammer rattles the nails in Jesus’s hands.

These powerful scenes were filmed in Southwark, with Caroline Gardens chapel playing the interior and Nunhead Cemetery’s Anglican chapel as the exterior.

The location manager on the production was Michael Panikkou. He says, “These locations came about because I was tasked with finding a chapel that we could show in various states of demolition.

“Using clever dressing and angles and very little CGI, these locations worked really well within the film and house some very atmospheric and powerful scenes.”

The Nunhead Cemetery shoot was over three days in November 2015, with Malky and his co-workers knocking down the old church, loading skips and removing the large crucifix.

The intense scenes in Malky’s flat were performed in the Islington home of Michael Panikkou’s father.

He explains, “We had looked at quite a few options for Malky’s flat but none of them was quite right. I was in a conversation with the directors, producer and Orlando Bloom when I showed them a photo of my Dad’s exterior as a reference, to see how they felt about that style and the feel of the place.

“Everyone liked it so much, it was a case of, ‘Why don’t we shoot it there?’

“My Dad didn’t mind the filming at all, he was happy to help. So we re-located him to stay with nearby family for the shoot and paid for any out of pocket expenses.

“He didn’t meet any of the stars of the film – he was relaxing with my niece and sister. But afterwards he did comment about the racy bedroom scenes performed in his flat, and he has joked about doing tours and selling some of the furniture that features in the movie as memorabilia.

“There is a nice photo that Orlando Bloom tweeted. It was taken outside Dad’s flat, with Orlando, the directors Ludwig Shammasian and Paul Shammasian and writer Geoff Thompson.”

More moving scenes were shot in Lewisham around Telegraph Hill and Ladywell Fields. Orlando Bloom as Malky repeats the bible verse from Romans, addressing vengeance and forgiveness, which the film is named after. It’s also where Orlando Bloom and Janet Montgomery as his girlfriend Emma share a moment overlooking the dramatic cityscape.

FilmFixer manages the film office service for Islington, Southwark and Lewisham councils. FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “Along with the extremely moving scenes shot in Lewisham and Southwark, the flat in Islington works really well. Filming took place there over two days where the intensity of Malky’s inner life, as traumatised as he is, was explored.

“It’s a very personal and powerful script by Geoff Thompson based on real events in London, so we’re hoping the film will open here in the capital sometime soon.”