Jessica Swale faced challenges shooting key Summerland scene in single take

Jessica Swale found the London shoot the most challenging day of the production.

Director Jessica Swale faced multiple challenges trying to capture a busy Blitz scene in London in a single continuous shot for her new movie Summerland.

The playwright makes her feature directorial debut with the period drama, which stars Gemma Arterton as Alice, a reclusive writer who is entrusted with a young evacuee from London.

While the majority of the movie was shot in locations on the south coast of England, production had to relocate to London for the day to film a Blitz scene, and Jessica was determined for the footage of Gemma walking from her car down a street to a burning house to be filmed in one continuous shot, something which proved difficult to pull off.

"I was really determined that the final section would be Steadicam so it was one really long shot, from the moment that she got out the car to the moment that she got the house and it was nigh on impossible to do that," she said in an exclusive interview with Cover Media. "Laurie (Rose, cinematographer) and I were so determined that we wanted that single shot that we wanted to do it at the expense of whatever else, even if it meant we only got it once and we had to use that version. I think we really put ourselves up against a wall trying to do that but it was worth it and it made the edit."

Jessica, who directed the movie from her own script, found the London shoot the most challenging day of the production because it was so ambitious, full of extras, and the team had so much to do within a short amount of time. Plus, it was also very different from the rest of the shoot, which was largely filmed in the confines of Alice's seaside home.

"We had been so used to working in the house and the sort of comfort of that," she explained. "We got to know it really well, and you have your routine, the sunshine was always out… We worked really hard, but (we had that) sort of relaxation from being familiar with your set."

Summerland is in cinemas 31 July.

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