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Gilded: behind the scenes

The Second World War is a very popular subject for filmmakers because of the nostalgia, intrigue and scope for story making that it holds. For me, as the screenwriter for Gilded, I was also inspired by this period and wanted to make a film about it. I was interested in exploring the activities of female SOE agents in France during this time, and the consequences of their actions.

To recreate 1940s France, I searched for an appropriate outdoor location and stumbled upon Westenhanger Castle in Folkstone, Kent, England. It is a truly beautiful building, made up of ancient castle walls and a medieval manor house, and was inhabited by King Henry VIII. However, I was most interested in the listed French-style stables around the back which we were very fortunate to be able to film in! We had a couple of mishaps, such as our only light badly overheating at a crucial filming moment, but director Paul J Lane was still able to create some great cinematography!

Gilded - Official Trailer

With a limited budget, I did my best to make everything as authentic as possible. I’m particularly proud of the German luger pistol which I used in the film, as it used to be a red bb gun before I sprayed and sanded it. Costume came from a variety of sources, and I learned how to do 1940s hair from YouTube! As an indie filmmaker, Gilded taught me that it pays to be resourceful and to think outside of the box.

Our cast was phenomenal and I’m grateful to each and every one of them for bringing the script alive. Paul J Lane was fantastic as Gunter, the Nazi Officer, Jaye Gamm was brilliant as the flawed Jean-François, and Daniel Skinner and Sally Bosman also brought a lot to their characters. As for me, I loved every minute of playing Rosalie. Some of her characteristics are unsavoury, but she is also brave and troubled by her conscience after the war. The fact that she is a singer gave me the chance to sing “After You’ve Gone” by Marion Harris in the film.

Currently I’m busy working on spy thriller The Doorman with director Patrick Ryder. Would I jump at the chance of creating other period films? I believe the answer is yes!

Cheryl Neve


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