March 17, 2022 2.03 pm

Excitement as local businesses host Hollywood crews filming at Lincoln Cathedral

Ridley Scott’s Napoleon film stars Joaquin Phoenix

The filming of Ridley Scott’s Napoleon Bonaparte biopic at Lincoln Cathedral has caused excitement for local businesses who believe the movie will have a positive long-term impact on the city.

Actors, and hundreds of extras, in Napoleonic costume arrived at Lincoln Cathedral on Thursday, March 17 as film crews set cameras rolling for the highly-anticipated movie.

Steered by acclaimed director Ridley Scott, the Napoleon Bonaparte biopic, currently billed as either ‘Napoleon’ or ‘Marengo’, charts the rise of the French emperor to power. Napoleon’s first wife, Josephine, will be played by Vanessa Kirby, famous for her role as Princess Margaret in The Crown.

The filming has resulted in road closures and traffic restrictions, which have impacted on local businesses, but we spoke to staff and owners who felt positive about the Hollywood blockbuster.

Kevin Clifton is the General Manager at Browns Pie Shop. | Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

Kevin Clifton, general manager at Browns Pie Shop on Steep Hill, told The Lincolnite:”It [the filming] means that people interested in what’s going on, and tourists, are now more inclined to visit the things that make Lincoln what it is, including Browns Pie Shop which was established over 35 years ago.

“It has given us a boost over the last couple of weeks and we’ve heard of lot of different accents recently, especially American. I believe some of the crew came in and ate here last week and enjoyed it.

“In the past couple of weeks we have also had visitors speaking about Lincoln Cathedral and things like this help promote the city further.”

And some of the crew and builders working on the film have been to the Wig & Mitre for drinks.

The Wig & Mitre staff are excited about the filming in Lincoln. Left to right – Sous chef Alex Boughen, assistant general manager Richard Thiedeman, and bartender Luke Robinson. | Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

Assistant general manager Richard Thiedeman said: “I’m a big film nerd so I am very excited. It was interesting to the see the extras coming out of the van in full costume this morning, they looked great.

“Hopefully this brings in more visitors for those trying to catch a glimpse of the stars. Any eyes on Lincoln are good eyes.”

Sous chef Alex Boughen said: “With The Joker out three years ago and Joaquin Phoenix in that film, this has caused excitement in the city. Long-term the film will be good for Lincoln and local businesses.”

Bartender Luke Robinson even had a customer specially request that if Joaquin comes in to get an autograph for him.

Bells Tea Shop owner Nicola Lockwood. | Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

Nicola Lockwood, owner at Bells Tea Shop, said: “It’s positive for the city and brought lots of crew members into the shop, and into local bars and restaurants, in the run up to the filming today [Thursday].

“The crew members have been telling us how they’ve enjoyed being in the city and how they’d love to come back to Lincoln with family and friends in the future.”

Olivares Tapas Bar is located on Castle Hill near Lincoln Castle. | Photo: Nicolas Petre

Nicolas Petre, who owns Olivares Tapas Bar, said: “It’s always exciting to have movies in Lincoln and it would be a pleasure to host the cast and crew at Olivares.

“It would be better if the parking [for the filming] was inside the castle so it didn’t occupy what local people and tourists need as there is not much parking here, but it is an exciting time for Lincoln. Lincoln will get more publicity and in time more people will come to see the city.

“A few years ago when Brad Pitt was producing a film in Lincoln [The King], the director guy [David Michôd] ate in here regularly and loved the food.”

Sarah Spring works at The Mouse House Cheese Company. | Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

Sarah Spring, who works at The Mouse House Cheese Company on Steep Hill, said: “I’ve been in Lincoln all my life. This is exciting for Lincoln and a boost for local businesses that something so big is happening here.”