Middle Temple in Closed Circuit
Date posted: 01.11.2013
Starring Rebecca Hall and Eric Bana, John Crowley's thriller Closed Circuit is the latest in a long line of films to benefit from the dramatic interior of Middle Temple, an Elizabethan Inn of Court nestled by the banks of the Thames.
Centred around a case in which a former MI5 agent is being tried for a terror offence, the dark wood panelled interior of the Inn's Parliament Chamber provides the film with an atmospheric setting for the tense court scenes.
About Closed Circuit
Directed by John Crowley (Intermission, Boy A) and written by Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises), Closed Circuit is a British-American crime thriller.
Opening with an attack on London's Borough Market, seen through CCTV cameras, themes of surveillance and conspiracy run through the film.
When Farroukh is accused of the attack, ex-lovers Martin Rose (Bana) and Claudia Simmons-Howe (Hall) are brought in to defend him. With Claudia heading the closed trial to determine what evidence can be heard and Martin leading the public trial, they are banned from seeing each other.
As the trial continues the lawyers realise that they are being closely monitored. Discovering that Farrouk is a former MI5 informant a conspiracy unfolds that puts their lives in danger, tests the limits of their loyalties and draws them closer than ever before.
Middle Temple - the perfect location
Also using Holborn's Lincoln's Inn, Crowley describes the Inns of London as a "self contained world". He chose the setting in part because, he says, "I thought it would be fascinating to capture the old, dark burnished wood quality of that world and its rituals rubbing up against the surveillance capital".
With the British legal system so central to the film, it was essential to find a location that reflects its history and authority. And they found it. As Location Manager Dan Whitty explains, "thanks to the filming policy at Middle Temple we were given fantastic access into that legal world".
The existing richness and relevance of the decor meant that the set required minimal dressing, keeping prep time to a minimum. A representative from Middle Temple told Film London, "this room with exquisite carved panelling, intricate ceiling and stained glass windows, made the perfect setting", tying in with what the scene was hoping to accomplish.
And Whitty agrees: "Not only did Middle Temple work for our narrative needs but it is also boasts some of the most beautiful period interiors and exteriors of any business environment in the UK".
Making the shoot run smoothly
The day's shoot required Middle Temple to close its doors to everyday events and activities. "Normally it would have been open for around 150 barristers and students for lunch service and other events", its representative explained, "instead the cast and crew had the privilege of dining in our stunning Elizabethan Hall".
The Middle Temple Hall is one of the finest examples of an Elizabethan hall in the country, with a double hammer beam roof.
About Middle Temple
Middle Temple is one of two Inns of Court at Temple. It sits to the west, with the Inner Temple to the east. The buildings are linked by a labyrinth of passageways and courts. An elaborate stone arch passes into Middle Temple Lane, which runs all the way to the Thames, separating Inner and Middle Temple.
In addition to the striking Elizabethan hall, highlights of Middle Temple include:
- Wood panelled rooms with fireplaces in the Parliament Chamber, the Queen's Room and the Smoking Room
- Middle Temple Garden with sloping lawns that overlook the Thames
- A row of 17th Century timber-frame houses
- Fountain Court
- Victorian reception rooms
- Barristers' Chambers in a variety of architectural periods
- Neo-Georgian library rebuilt in 1956
- Cobbled Streets
- Gas Lighting
- Privately owned surrounding streets that can be closed off for filming
Other films that have made the most of this beautiful location include Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, The Da Vinci Code and Elizabeth.
For filming at Middle Temple, please contact:
Sales and Marketing Manager
T: 020 7427 4852 | M: 07508 877 014 | W: www.middletemplehall.org.ukDistributed by Universal, Closed Circuit was released on Friday 25 October.