Hail to the Kingdom: Sword and sorcery epic comes to Arbroath

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A preliminary phase of a new Scottish swords and sorcery feature film was in Arbroath at the weekend as the cast learned to ‘stick them with the pointy end’.

An advance party for writer-director Fred Arrowsmith’s next film, ‘Kingdom: Fall of Illandrieal’ was at the Rosely Country Hotel on Saturday where they were put through their paces by Brodie Toriati, local swordmaster in the art of Fiore, the 15th century Italian-style of longsword combat.

Director Fred Arrowsmith told the Herald a bit more about the project: “The film is a fantasy adventure that will appeal to fans of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’, but taking a whole new angle on the genre.

“Written and directed by myself and produced by myself, Paul-John Ross and John Mullen, the film follows the quest of eight commoners as they try to reclaim their kingdom from the evil Legion.

“The movie will be a crowdfunded production, and as such we will be launching our campaign at our launch night in November where people can donate to the production in return for exclusive perks. The production will be filmed across Scotland during the first few months of 2017 with a release date scheduled for the end of 2017.”

Arbroath actor and one of the founding members of the LimeLight theatrical company, Chris O’Mara, has the film’s lead role.

He said: “Saturday was a fantastic experience, both to start the bonding process with my cast members, something that is going to be so integral to the success of this film, but also to begin the gruelling process of the fight choreography, which is also a major part of Kingdom, and will make or break the plot! Huge thanks to Brodie for making it happen, and I look forward to working closely with him, passing on my skills, as he teaches me some of the combat experience needed, along with the rest of the fight team.

“This is my second feature film, after a lot of experience in short films - I’m in a really amazing position at the moment where I’m getting a lot of acting work, and I credit the Arbroath film company, IronStar Films, in giving me the experience and exposure. I’ve just wrapped on a horror film, ‘Bridal Fever’ with a different company, so Kingdom will be my second film. But there’s something so different and unique about Kingdom, it’s on a much bigger scale, with a huge cast and crew, and with big ideas and huge scenes, involving CGI, special effects, battles etc. It’s going to be epic - think Lord of the Rings meets Game of Thrones, and you’re getting close. I’m really excited to be involved, but to be the lead actor, Balfour, whom the story revolves around, is incredible, and an opportunity I’m hugely grateful for. I can’t say too much about what I’m going to be up to, but the part calls for some epic fight scenes, an unlikely love interest, getting my kit off, and the opportunity for some proper serious acting.

“What’s most important is that Kingdom: Fall of Illandrieal could be a momentous step forward for the Scottish film industry, and show the rest of the world that not only do we have the capabilities and talent, but we can do it just as good as you, if not better.”

As well as helping train up the actors, Brodie will also be putting all his fighting skills to use as Garion, brother of one of the main characters. Brodie said: “I’ve been friends with Chris O’Mara since school and saw he was cast in a medieval fantasy film. I fired him a message letting him know what I do and if he ever needed a little training with swords I’d happily help. Chris then recommended me and put in a good word to Fred. It feels awesome to be able to showcase genuine medieval combat on the big screen and have it recognised.”