Napoleon crowns Lincoln’s set jetting experience

Lincoln Cathedral is set to be seen in a completely different light this month – playing host to the lavish crowning of Napoleon as Emperor of France.

Proving its ‘star’ pulling power, the magnificent 950-year-old Cathedral will be back on the big screen with the release of the hotly anticipated Napoleon, from director Ridley Scott and starring Joaquin Phoenix.

No stranger to top movie billing, this time the Cathedral stands in for Notre Dame in Paris and is where one of the movie trailer’s key scenes, featuring the coronation, was filmed on location in March 2022.

Hundreds of cast and crew arrived in the city for the week-long set-up and two days of filming, transforming the Cathedral into a Napoleonic set for the stylish biopic, which charts the spectacular rise and fall of the charismatic French leader.

Focussing on the man who rose from military general to Emperor of France, the movie also revolves around his tumultuous relationship with the woman who became his wife, Joséphine, played by Vanessa Kirby.

Both stars, resplendent in their French finery, along with hundreds of soldiers and nobility, portrayed the historic moment Bonaparte placed the crown on his own head.

To be released in UK cinemas on 22 November before streaming on Apple TV+ at a future date, Napoleon is just the latest movie to feature the historic city.

One of Europe’s finest Gothic buildings, the Cathedral – which was once the tallest building in the world – is set within cobbled streets in Lincoln’s historic heart and has proved a top draw for producers.

Among its previous roles was doubling as Westminster Abbey for scenes involving Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code, and it provided the backdrop for another coronation, that of Queen Victoria in The Young Victoria, with Emily Blunt, as well as for Netflix production The King with Timothée Chalamet.

Just steps from the Cathedral lies Lincoln Castle, which has its own TV claim to fame. It was a filming location for the third series of Downton Abbey in 2012, when the Castle’s Victorian Prison stood-in for York Prison, where valet John Bates, played by Brendan Coyle, served time for the murder of his former wife.

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