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Look out for more coverage of
Wimbledon in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Wimbledon

Paul Bettany • Kirsten Dunst
DIRECTOR: Richard Loncraine

Shooting in Wimbledon THE CONCEPT:
Romantic comedy that centers around two tennis pros, Britain’s Peter Colt (Bettany) and America’s Lizzie Bradbury (Dunst) who are playing for a Wimbledon title at the same time they’re falling in love with each other.

U.S. RELEASE: September 17 2204, Nationwide • Rated: PG-13


PAUL BETTANY on when the tennis ball was real and when it was CGI:
“All the serves are real. The serves have to be real because we are handling the ball, and that’s impossible to do on computers. The moment that there are two players in frame at the same time, after the serve, it becomes a computer ball. It has to be because we tried, even with professional tennis players, to repeat every point meticulously choreographed and you cannot hit the ball and repeat the choreography endlessly all day for coverage from other cameras. So this film wouldn’t have been able to be made in this style until very recently.”

“I learned to play tennis when I was young, but I hadn’t played in forever. So when I started this movie, I didn’t watch tennis, I didn’t know that much about it. I didn’t want to look like a hack out there. A lot of it is sold in the expression and the force. But we also had experts there standing off camera the whole time, telling me to lift it a little higher, and throw the ball more to the left or whatever it was. They were constantly there making sure it would look authentic. We had good people like Pat Cash.”

“I hit the cameraman with the tennis ball three times. He was very sweet about it. He made A Knight’s Tale and we knew each other very well. Two of the times they were just glancing blows, and the third time I bought him a bottle of scotch, because I really hit him in the head. Mostly, things went pretty smoothly except for a fractured rib and a torn up chin and so on.”

DUNST on shooting at Wimbledon:
“Paul got to walk out on the court with all the crowds during the games. So he had a totally different experience from me. They were filming him step out and the actual Wimbledon crowd was there cheering him on. That’s something that’s lived in him his whole childhood. For me, I live here [in Los Angeles] and so it hasn’t been ingrained in me like it has in him. But I definitely felt the weight of this arena, and it was an honor to be allowed to step on it and shoot on it.”

BETTANY on walking out on Center Court:
“It was as close to how I imagine being a rock star feels. You walk on and everybody is screaming your name. I sat down to take my racquet out and I remember thinking, ‘I’m so pleased that I don’t actually have to play a match because I can’t walk.’ There’s actually a photograph somewhere of Austin Nichols [who plays his opponent in the movie] carrying me or helping me walk off Center Court because, literally, my legs were like jelly.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Wimbledon site
Images above © Universal Pictures
Feature © 2004 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #649, October 2004 cover

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