The first images released from the transcontinental set of Ralph Fiennes’ The White Crow feature actor and dancer Oleg Ivenko in Paris and also alongside director Ralph Fiennes at the Russian State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. The film, based on an explosive chapter in the life of acclaimed ballet star Rudolf Nureyev, has been shooting for two weeks in France and Russia at authentic locations from the life of the dancer, which have also included: the Sainte- Chapelle; the Louvre; Palais Garnier; and, the Mariinsky Theatre. It is the first film to be allowed access to Russia’s State Hermitage Museum since Sokurov’s Russian Ark. Filming will continue in Croatia and Serbia until late October.
The White Crow was developed by BBC Films and Gabrielle Tana who will also produce with Carolyn Marks Blackwood through Magnolia Mae Productions together with François Ivernel through the French branch of his company, Montebello Productions. American artist and filmmaker Andrew Levitas has joined the project as producer and financier through his companies Metalwork Pictures and Rogue Black respectively. Rose Garnett and Joe Oppenheimer of BBC Films are executive producers and HanWay Films are on board with financing and handling worldwide sales and distribution. The Fyzz Facility is co-financing the film with Wayne Marc Godfrey and Robert Jones Executive Producing.
Written by two-time Academy Award nominated David Hare (The Hours, The Reader), and based on the book “Rudolf Nureyev: The Life” by Julie Kavanagh, The White Crow delves into the most cinematic, cultural and politically charged chapter in the life of Russian dancer Rudolph Nureyev, a fearless, explosive personality both on and off the stage.
With a magnetic presence, Nureyev was the embodiment of balletic magnificence and by the 1950s had emerged as a young star in Leningrad. Ralph Fiennes will intimately capture the raw physicality and brilliance of Nureyev, while David Hare’s script delivers a tight and thrilling insight into his dangerous defection to the West in 1961 Paris, choreographed by the dancer’s great friend, 21-year-old Parisian Clara Saint. In a finale at Le Bourget airport in Paris, The White Crow climaxes with that global event, re-enacting a day that captivated and stunned the world over and proved to be one of the West’s greatest propaganda coups during the Cold War.
New additions to the internationally-renowned cast include Olivier Rabourdin (Of Gods and Men) and ballet stars Anastasia Meskova, a First Soloist for the Bolshoi, and Anna Polikarpova, Senior Principal Dancer for Hamburg Ballet. As previously announced, the cast also includes two-time Academy Award nominated and BAFTA winner Ralph Fiennes (Coriolanus, The Grand Budapest Hotel) alongside Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Colour), Louis Hofmann (Land of Mine, Alone in Berlin), Raphaël Personnaz (The Princess of Montpensier, Anna Karenina), Calypso Valois (Personal Shopper, Summertime), world-renowned dancer Sergei Polunin (Dancer, Murder on the Orient Express), and distinguished Russian actress Chulpan Khamatova (Good bye Lenin!).
Academy Award nominated Production Designer Anne Seibel (Midnight in Paris) and choreographer Johan Kobborg, former Principal of the Royal Ballet, round out the key production team that also includes: BAFTA Award winner and Academy Award nominated Costume Designer Madeline Fontaine (Jackie, Amélie); BAFTA Award nominated Director of Photography Mike Eley (Marley, Touching the Void); and BAFTA Award nominated Composer Ilan Eshkeri (Dancer, Still Alice).