Emerald City & Game of Thrones 6 filming in Andalucia
The dramatic karst scenery of El Torcal national park in Andalucia has been chosen as a key filming location for the new NBC fantasy drama series, Emerald City, to be based on L. Frank Baum´s classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Filming will begin in El Torcal next week, with other destinations in Andalucia expected to be Cabo de Gata National Park near Almeria; the Castillo de Calahorra and Guadix caves north of Granada; and the Alcazar palace in Seville.
Photo: Calahorra castle & Sierra Nevada near Granada (Lonely Planet).
The new series is described by NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt (on entertainment website Collider) as “a modern re-imagining of the L. Frank Baum books…a thrilling, more epic telling of the stories”. “Swept up into the eye of a tornado, 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is transported to another world - a mystical land in great peril, where an all-powerful wizard has forbidden magic and rules over many kingdoms. This is the fabled Land of Oz in a way you've never seen it before, where lethal warriors roam, wicked witches plot in the shadows and a young girl from Kansas becomes a headstrong heroine who holds the fate of their world in her hands”, reads the NBC plot summary.
The lead roles of Dorothy and the Wizard will be played by Adria Arjona (True Detective, Person of Interest) and Vincent D’Onofrio (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Full Metal Jacket, Men in Black, Jurassic World, The Cell), while the series will also star Oliver Jackson-Cohen from TV drama Mr Selfridge. Emerald City will be directed by Tarsem Singh (The Fall, Immortals, The Cell) while the producer is Peter Welter Soler of Malaga-based Fresco Films, who also worked on filming Game of Thrones in Spain.
Photo: The new NBC series, Emerald City, will be starring Adria Arjona.
El Torcal and Karst scenery in Andalucia
Known for its dramatic landforms including limestone ‘stacks’, El Torcal (see main photo) is one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe. Designated a Parque Natural in 1989, El Torcal's 17 square km are also home to the Spanish Ibex (mountain goat), foxes, Griffon vultures and several species of Eagle; along with 30 species of orchid, Maple, Mediterranean Holm Oak and Hawthorn trees.
Photo: Spanish Ibex in El Torcal national park (Javier Ramos).
El Torcal is located close to the historic town of Antequera north of Malaga, and easily accessible from the A-45 Malaga/Cordoba motorway, near the village of Villanueva de la Concepcion. For those who like hiking, there are three different marked trails (from 1-3 hours) with stunning views and impressive ammonites too; plus there´s a visitor centre and café/restaurant with a nice terrace. See Gallery of Photos of El Torcal.
Photo: El Torcal natural park near Antequera, Andalucia.
Close to El Torcal, the Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park is another beautiful Karst region of Andalucia and remains surprisingly “off the map” for visitors, despite having been designated a Global GeoPark by UNESCO 10 years ago (in 2006) for its exceptional geological heritage.
Read “Karst in a different Light” on the FT.com for a nice feature on Malham Cove in Yorkshire (UK) and other beautiful Karst landscapes of the World including Puerto Princesa National Park near Palawan (Philippines); El Torcal (Spain), The River Li & Guilin region in Guangxi province (China) and Ha Long Bay (Vietnam).
Photo: Cueva del Morrion, near Priego de Cordoba in the Sierras Subbeticas (Wikiloc).
It is hoped that Emerald City, along with Game of Thrones Series 6 (also just filmed here in Andalucia), will help bring Andalucia´s natural and manmade wonders to an ever-wider audience. Seville has enjoyed a record year in 2015 with a 25% increase in visitors thanks to the “Game of Thrones effect”.
Photo: filming Game of Thrones in Seville´s Alcazar palace (Canal+).
Game of Thrones Series 6 locations in Spain
The Alcazar palace and gardens in Seville provided the backdrop for Game of Thrones Season 5, with the palace´s stunning tiled rooms and courtyards featuring in no less than four episodes. And it´s also just been the setting for the forthcoming Series 6, along with Almeria´s Alcazar fortress and the Sierra Alhamilla in the Tabernas desert, where Ridley Scott´s biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings was also shot. Other Spanish locations used for filming Season 6 were Girona, Castell de Santa Florentina castle (Barcelona), the semi-desert region of Bardenas Reales (Navarra), Zafra castle (Campillo de Dueñas, Guadalajara) and Peñíscola castle (Castellon).
Photo: Zafra castle (Guadalajara province), the setting for the Tower of Joy in Game of Thrones season 6 (HBOwatch.com).
New tax incentives help secure blockbuster movie returns
And all this has been made possible thanks to the new tax incentives introduced by the Spanish government in January 2015, says Peter Welter Soler, director of Fresco Films in Malaga, the production company used for both Game of Thrones and Emerald City: “Sin estos beneficios fiscales no tendríamos ni esta producción ni ‘Juego de Tronos, Without these fiscal incentives, we´d not have Emerald City nor Game of Thrones”.
And it seems that Matt Damon and friends have been hooked in too as the latest sequel in the Bourne film franchise, the untitled Bourne 5, has recently been shooting in Tenerife, Canary Islands.
* Check out our Top 10 Movies made in Spain list.
* See Shooting in Spain featuring Elijah Wood, a Spanish Film Commission video about filming in Spain: More reasons why film directors (and holiday makers!) should choose Spain!
Casa Olea is an award-winning Boutique B&B/Inn located in the Sierras Subbeticas, close to Priego de Cordoba. Ideally situated in the heart of Andalucia, half way between Granada and Cordoba for day trips to the Alhambra and Mezquita and El Torcal national park. Less than 2 hours´drive from Malaga, Granada and Seville airports. Double rooms from 110 euros per night including breakfast: www.casaolea.com
Photo: Casa Olea in Andalucia - voted no.4 in Top 25 Best Small hotels/Inns in Spain (Tripadvisor Awards 2015).