Will Ferrell’s new Netflix Eurovision movie filmed in Knebworth
PUBLISHED: 20:32 26 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:50 29 June 2020
© 2020 Netflix, Inc.
Scenes of Anchorman star Will Ferrell’s new Netflix movie about the Eurovision Song Contest were filmed in Knebworth.
Starring Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens and Pierce Brosnan, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga can be seen on streaming service Netflix from today (Friday, June 26).
In the homage to the annual song contest, producer and co-screenwriter Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams play Icelandic musicians Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdottir.
The film’s synopsis says “when aspiring musicians Lars and Sigrit are given the opportunity of a lifetime to represent their country at the world’s biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for”.
Lars’ father, Erick Erickssong – described in the script as “the most handsome man in Iceland” – is rendered by none other than former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan.
READ MORE: Will Ferrell talks Eurovision and Fire Saga
Production of Eurovision Song Contest began at Leavesden Studios last August.
Over the course of a 49-day shoot, the bulk of the filming took place on location in England, Edinburgh, Scotland and Iceland.
Scenes from the spoof comedy written by Elf, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Blades of Glory actor Will Ferrell and Saturday Night Live scriptwriter Andrew Steele were shot on location at Knebworth House last September.
Knebworth House posted on its social media pages: “We are very excited about the release of Eurovision on Netflix today!
“It was great fun having the cast & crew on site. Give it a watch to see if you can spot us.”
The Hertfordshire stately home doubles as Russian singer Alexander Lemtov’s tasteless and garishly decorated abode.
Stevens, who is best known as Matthew Crawley from TV series Downton Abbey, plays the Russian contestant in the tongue-in-cheek movie.
Production designer Paul Inglis, who joined the project fresh from the set of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, was tasked with converting the Lytton Cobbold family home into Lemtov’s pad.
It was the most grandiose set Inglis constructed for the movie, with very in-your-face naked statues, flaming torches and gold staircases.
The magnificent Gothic mansion is where Alexander holds a soirée prior to the Eurovision finals.
“We went to town at Knebworth,” says Inglis. “It was an absolute joy!
“We turned it into a modern party house for a Russian bachelor about town.
“We had four gold-plated supercars parked outside, flambeaus and a red carpet.
“Inside we added ice sculptures, naked statues of Lemtov, gold staircases, marble and disco balls.”
All the interior design excess still supported the narrative.
“The other competitors feel comfortable in this world,” says Inglis.
“But to Lars [Ferrell], it’s a psychedelic, disorienting and overwhelming backdrop where he realises that Sigrit – the most important part of his life – could be slipping away.”
“Whether it’s ice skating or the Indy 500 or Eurovision, Will [Ferrell] is so good at inhabiting characters whose mad little worlds are everything to them,” says Dan Stevens, who portrays Eurovision hopeful Alexander Lemtov.
In the Netflix film, directed by David Dobkin of Wedding Crashers and The Judge fame, returning contest favourite Alexander attempts to claim the top prize with his song Lion of Love.
“He has a very operatic voice and uses it in poppy, big, bombastic songs,” says Stevens of his Russian alter ego.
For Lemtov’s Eurovision entry, Inglis created leaping graphics of jungle animals to project onto an LED screen – Alexander’s cue to swagger in with four shirtless male backup dancers.
“It’s a bit of a Eurovision trope – an incredibly sexual, erotic song that’s vaguely couched in some sort of context,” Stevens says.
“When David Dobkin first played it to me, I couldn’t stop laughing.”
And Lemtov’s costumes were not subtle or restrained either.
The Russian entertainer favours performing in gold, black, tall boots and designer labels.
To celebrate the start of Eurovision, he wears a red Alexander McQueen suit.
At his luxe abode, he accessorises with Gianni Versace shoes and a pile of jewellry.
His wardrobe treasures are also sourced from Philip Lane and Vivienne Westwood.
The Netflix movie also features Graham Norton as himself.
American Heart Attack pop star Demi Lovato plays the heavenly-voiced Katiana, who is described as “one of the best and most angelic singers in all of Iceland”.
You can watch Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga now on Netflix.
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