From the Production Notes for the press
" ... One of the earliest challenges faced by the
production team was determining where to shoot the film. Initially,
they were skeptical they would be able to find an area that could
adequately resemble the world which European settlers first encountered
We thought that in a million years there's no place left in the United
States that looks as untouched as the James and Chickahominy Rivers
would have been in 1607, says [producer Sara] Green. We thought it would be in some
mysterious place where no one lives, so we looked at obscure regions in
Canada where there were hopefully untouched forests and rivers.
But (production designer) Jack Fisk, who lives in Virginia, felt that
we shouldn't go anywhere else until we saw where it all started. So
Terry, Jack and I traveled to see the original site of James Fort, and
to the Jamestown Settlement recreation nearby. Then we took a boat up
the Chickahominy River to see how the landscape flowed, and we thought,
gosh, there are a whole lot of stretches that weren't quite as settled
as we thought they might be. At one point, we came around a bend in the
river and saw a big old concrete fish house with a For Sale sign on it.
We didn't think we could afford to shoot in Virginia, but with our
collective aversion to runaway productions, and with a lot of help from
the State of Virginia, we decided that we had to make it work. There's a
look in Virginia that's nowhere else.
Green credits the Virginia government with helping make it feasible for
the production to shoot in the state where the story took place so many
The Virginia Film Office really helped pave the way for us to shoot
there, says Green. The unions wanted us in Virginia, the crews wanted
us in Virginia and the actors wanted us in Virginia. Then Governor
Warner really threw his weight behind us, and that was it. Its one of
the rare examples of a historical film shooting in almost the exact
place where the events originally occurred, and that fish house became
the site of the Jamestown fort...."
The film's Fort James was built on the privately owned land off of Little Creek Dam Road in Toano, VA
(then for sale) a few miles (30-45 minutes rough drive) outside
Jamestown on the former site of a pre-Revolutionary War boat yard on
the Chickahominy River
. Also the former site of the Menzel Brothers Fish House.
The Powhatan city of Werowocomoco
was built across the river in the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area
, Charles County (20 mins from town if the bridge was usable, 90 mins if not. Usually it was not).Agecroft Hall
(Richmond) -- Rolfe's Jamestown house was one of the only two sets built with modern materials (due to scheduling collapse) and has been kept intact by the property owner of Agecroft Hall, ancestral manse of the Langley and Dauntesey families, born on the Irwell River in Lancashire at the end of the 15th Century; transported in 1925 to Windsor Farms on the James River, near Richmond, Virginia (open to the public)Belle Isle
(Richmond);Sherwood Forest Plantation
(Charles City);Berkeley Plantation
Yorktown battlefields Lake Rawlings
a state park (Virginia Beach)The Ships
Jamestown Settlement's replica ships "Godspeed", "Discovery"
were repainted for the show.
The replica ship "Half Moon"
, privately owned by the nonprofit New
Netherland Museum, sailed from New York state and was repainted to
portray the "Susan Constant" (whose own replica's draft was too deep
for the location's landing). It also appeared in the films The Scarlet
and Disney's Squanto: An Indian Warrior's Tale
, as well as
several documentaries, including the History Channel's "Conquest of
America: The Northeast
". The Half Moon is primarily engaged in an
ongoing program taking of educational voyages, taking up to a dozen New
York capital region students at a time out to study the history and
science of the Hudson River. This program has also been expanded to
incorporate Union college students, who re-explored the three rivers of
the original Dutch New Netherlands Colony: the Hudson, the Connecticut,
and the DelawareIn England
Scenes of Capt Smith exploring the coast of Greenland were shot in CornwallHatfield House
(noted for the topiary gardens used in the film) in Hertfordshire was used as
"Heacham Hall," the Rolfes' English home, and his gardens at Dorney
Royal presentation scenes were shot at Hampton Court Palace
, the medieval house renovated by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and appropriated by Henry VIII (13 miles SW of London).
London street scenes were shot on Merton Street looking toward Corpus Christi College (one of the five early Tudor colleges at Oxford University
) often used in films:
Many of London street scenes were shot in Oxford: on New College Lane; in the main quod of Bodleian Library looking toward the tower; at the entry of Divinity School (whose door has a Greek inscription); near the Sheldonian Theatre looking to the Clarendon Building.
Interactive Virginia locations map at the following website (many
thanks to poster, davedavidl, "proud Virginian in Isle of Wight", for
having provided this Jamestown1607 link):
http://www.jamestown1607.org/newworldmovie.aspA local travel company offers tours of the filming sites: