Lights, camera, action!

Posted: 6th December 2014

Courtier3Hollywood held its breath last month and heralded the arrival of a potential future star of the silver screen.

The unlikely film debut of our own Michael Williamson was the result of an invitation from locally based film director, Graham Pitt, who is currently co-producing with actor Martin Challinor a “Tudor epic” for release in the summer of 2015.

Where Thunder Reigns is a story of love and denial between the poet, Sir Thomas Wyatt, and Anne Boleyn, Queen Consort and the second wife of King Henry VIII. 


The film has been shot at a number of locations in the South West including, last month, Weycroft Hall which is just outside Axminster a mere 15 miles from Williamsons’ offices.

“It’s a long story,” Michael explained, “but basically I happened to remark in passing to Graham that if he needed any more on the cast I would be happy to oblige. Not long afterwards, I had the call!” 

Courtier2Weycroft Hall is a Grade 1 listed heritage building dating back to the early fifteenth century.  The great hall with its open timber roof and gallery was built in around 1400. It was an ideal setting for the banqueting scene hosted by Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, played by Boyd Rogers, and the dance scene led by Lauren Falconer, as Anne Boleyn, and Martin Challinor.

“I am well known for having two left feet and keeping off the dance floor at functions in the interests of health and safety, so my wife was staggered to hear that anyone had been brave enough to choreograph me in a movie,” confessed Michael, “but Martin was kind enough to say that I had done ‘a fantastic job’ especially at short notice”.

It’s a wrap on the filming now but production is far from complete and the current scheduled release date is June/July 2015.  The jury is out until then on the dancing!

Michael was not keen on the "rug" (aka cloak) and a matching hat that obscured the elegance of the courtier’s costume which a number of fellow cast members suggested might be well received in the modern day courts.  Unfortunately Michael had to hand the kit back at the end of the day. 

“It was a unique experience for me and huge fun plus I met some great people, some of whom hopefully I shall see again.  Meanwhile, I wish Graham, Martin and crew all the best in the final production phases and hope that it is all a great success.”

Look out for Where Thunder Reigns at a cinema near you in 2015!