Far from the Madding Crowd exclusive behind the scenes movie interview

Last week, we brought you part one of our exclusive interview with Far from the Madding Crowd cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen, in which she discussed capturing Thomas Hardy's vision and working with star Carey Mulligan.

In part two, Charlotte talks about what it was like to film in the rural Dorset landscapes that inspired Hardy's writing, and the enduring appeal of the novel itself.

Landscapes are of course intrinsic to the power of Hardy's writing. What was it like filming on location in Dorset?

Tough! Unfortunately we didn’t have a remote control for the weather. It was totally the right decision because to make it real and stay true to Hardy, we had to be in the right spot. You cannot create that in a studio. And also it’s so much about the natural light. 

But it makes things difficult because you have to have weather cover days. For example, when there’s a harvest scene, you can’t have wind and rain. If a scene intended to be sunny was scheduled for what ultimately turned out to be a rainy day, everything had to be changed around. 

As much as anything, making a film is about ensuring the actors have enough time on set, ensuring they have enough material. This film is four seasons over two years and we didn’t have the luxury of being able to shoot summer scenes that summer and come back later in the year to shoot the winter scenes. We were shooting from mid-September to mid-November and we had to depict both the hottest summer ever when they’re collecting the hay and the cold, bitter winter for the Christmas scenes.

Why do you think the novel has endured for so long? 

It’s a beautifully written novel and one can identify with it, even now. It’s not just a love story about one woman and three men. It’s also about identity and this woman who’s confused. 

Bathsheba wants her freedom yet at the same time she wants a man. Yet it needs to be a man who can offer her more than just a piano, to reference a scene from the film itself. Hardy isn’t just occupied with Dorset and the love story. There’s a context to the novel that is very truthful to where we are today, and to where women are today. Bathsheba wants it all.

If you've not yet done so, click here to book your tickets for Far from the Madding Crowd. The movie is on release now in Cineworld. Take a look at the trailer below.