The Lake, an action thriller directed by Steven Quale (Into The Storm) and produced by Luc Besson, began shooting in Croatia yesterday…
The film is the most ambitious international production filming in Croatia this year. The shoot will last for 57 days, with two teams filming simultaneously, one in Zagreb and Gorski kotar, and one in Istria.
Sullivan Stapleton (300: Rise of an Empire) stars in the story of a group of Navy SEALs attempting to uncover an immense treasure hidden in a lake in war-torn Bosnia. Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Charlie Bewley (Twilight series) and Diarmaid Murtagh (Sons of Liberty) join the cast.
“Since there are a lot of underwater sequences, one possibility was to shoot the film in Malta, where they have a water tank facility and where we could build our set”, explains producer Raphaël Benoliel. “The reason why we opted for Croatia was the favourable experience our line-producer had with Canal Plus’s Borgia in Dubrovnik last year. In the film industry, trust is everything. You always base these decisions on previous experiences, that’s how you know that a country is reliable, that you’ve made the right choice. Then of course come excellent locations, the crew and incentives.”
The Lake began filming in Germany end of April, and continues in Croatia on location in Zagreb, Karlovac and Ogulin, in the region of Istria (Grožnjan and Hum), at the lake Lokve in Gorski kotar region, and the lake Čiče near Velika Gorica.
“Our ‘hero location’ is the village of Hum in Istria”, continues Benoliel. “It’s the central place in the story, where everything takes place at the beginning. In the film, it will depict a small village in Bosnia, where the treasure stolen by the German Army at the end of the World War II is hidden.”
Lake Lokve in Gorski kotar is the lake from the title of the film.
“Zagreb stands in for Sarajevo, for instance, transformed into a 1990s war-zone. Shooting at the Zagreb Fair, we would need to recreate what Sarajevo might have looked like in 1995, guided by our Croatian Art Director Ivo Hušnjak.”
More than half of the film crew is Croatian (Art Director, Camera Operator, Production and Location Managers, etc.): Ivo Hušnjak, Mirko Pivčević, Sanjin Krapinec, Zdravko Madžarević, to name a few. Croatian actors Marko Cindrić and Denis Brižić feature in supporting roles, alongside numerous other Croatian actors and over 1.000 extras.
“On top of that, we had the support of the Croatian Army and the Government, allowing us to use some of their military tanks and vehicles, and committing to facilitate action scenes that we are planning to shoot in the streets of Zagreb”, is appreciative Benoliel.
For the total of 57 days of filming in Croatia, Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp is projected to spend approximately EUR 7 million (over HRK 50 million), and will get back approximately EUR 1,3 million (10 million HRK) through Croatia’s filming incentives.
Filming in Croatia ends July 24, after which the set moves to Malta, where underwater scenes, recreating flooded village of Hum, will be filmed in an underwater tank. The film is already slated for release in summer 2016.