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Baroque Architecture and an Active Volcano Make ‘Cyrano’ a Visual Feast | Architectural Digest


The cast and crew spent three months in 2020 filming Cyrano entirely on the majestic island of Sicily, Italy. For that, they can thank production designer Sarah Greenwood—and an Italian pastry. “I was there for a job a few years ago and ended up in this incredible town called Noto because someone mentioned that they made an amazing cannoli,” Greenwood explains. Awed by the city’s beautiful baroque architecture, she took photos and showed them to her friend and frequent collaborator, director Joe Wright. “He said, ‘If we ever do Cyrano, this is where we’re going to shoot it.” Cut to last summer, when he gave her the good news: The script was done, and the music was incredible. “It was very much a, Let’s do it,” she says.

By the way, the cannoli was delectable—as is the movie. Based on Edmond Rostand’s classic 1897 play, this musical adaptation (in theaters February 25) chronicles physically insecure wordsmith Cyrano de Bergerac (played by Peter Dinklage) and his crush on his longtime friend Roxanne (Haley Bennett). She, however, falls for dashing young cadet, Christian (Kelvin Harrison). Alas, Christian is more easy on the eyes than eloquent in the brain, so Cyrano offers to step in and ghostwrite his love letters to her. Do note that in this version, the characters all tenderly sing their feelings courtesy of lyrics and score from the band The National.

“We had to take over the streets in Noto, but everyone was so helpful and hospitable,” Greenwood says.

Photo: Peter Mountain / 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

“It’s not about the period—it’s about the sense of place,” Greenwood—who has previously worked Atonement and *Darkest Hour—*explains. “You go from the intimacy of the characters in this beautiful world to the openness of the battlefield.” And in Noto, she adds, you can’t go wrong. A town built in 1694 in the aftermath of an earthquake, “It’s a location where everywhere you look there’s something incredible,” she says. (Noto was named a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site in 2002.) The production took over several streets for exterior scenes, and she notes that a local historian with a ring of keys “could get us in any building we wanted to go in.”


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