Assassin’s Creed filmed rooftop stunts in Malta
Action movie Assassin’s Creed filmed complex rooftop stunt sequences in the Maltese capital Valetta and also shot on location in Spain.
The film is based on the hugely popular videogame franchise of the same name.
Directed by Justin Kurzel, the story follows Michael Fassbender as a modern-day criminal forced to use new technology to live the life of his assassin ancestor at the time of the Spanish Inquisition in the late 16th century.
Production was based at Pinewood Studios near London. Scenes were filmed at London locations such as the Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen Street, but location shooting focussed on Seville and other parts of Andalusia in southern Spain, as well as the streets and rooftops of Malta.
“Andalusia offered exceedingly good dry weather and castles and citadels that have not been seen before on camera,” says Nick Oliver, the film’s location manager, in comments to KFTV. “We were searching for the 15th century Moorish feel to the architecture, rather than buildings that were specifically Spanish in their look.”
Moorish citadel the Alhambra in the Granada region of Andalusia became a key filming location, although the crew had to contend with searing heat and flash floods which impacted their set-building.
Spain has become a more feasible international filming location since launching a formal production incentive, although the support is capped at €2.5m per project for mainland shooting.
Much of the key stunt work for Assassin’s Creed was filmed in Valetta in Malta, with the production team using the city’s distinctive narrow streets and clustered rooftops to shoot the parkour-style action sequences that the game franchise is particularly famous for.
Locations were considered across Europe and in Morocco – a particular favourite for Middle Eastern and desert settings – but only Malta offered the specific visuals the team was looking for.
Spain couldn’t offer quite the same environment, with urban modernisation a particular problem in the country for the purposes of Assassin’s Creed.
“Valetta is a densely populated European city with great stonework buildings,” Oliver says. “It was worth it for the forts and the churches, and the high-sided narrow streets.”
The team had to get special permission to film on some of the city’s historical sites, especially as the complex stunts required five-ton wire rigs to be safely anchored on rooftops for main unit filming.
“We spent months preparing,” Oliver says. “We also had 30 crew trucks to park, while the searing heat and thousands of onlookers were challenges we faced along the way.”
Malta has become a popular international filming location, partly because it offers a convenient stand-in for the Middle East. Recent high-profile shoots have included Michael Bay’s war movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, which used the country as a double for Libya.
Producers filming in Malta can also claim a base production rebate of 25%, with additional support available for stories that are actually set in Malta.
The island nation is best known for its specialist water tank facilities at Mediterranean Film Studios.
For more on filming in Malta see our production guide.
Images: 20th Century Fox