Almeria. How did the Andalusian desert become a movie star?
Almost everyone has seen the movie, but hardly anyone knows where it was made. Several popular films such as: ”Lawrence of Arabia”, “Good, bad and ugly” or “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” were set in the eastern part of Andalusia, in this unusual landscapes of the province of Almería. With a total rainfall below 240 mm and sunshine over 3000 hours per year, this is the only desert in Europe.
The variety of rock formations means that local landscapes can be comparable to the ones of Africa or America.
The scenes for “Lawrence of Arabia” were shot here – the last but crucial. Earlier ones were done in Jordan and it was important that the scenery needed to look the same throughout the whole movie.
The outdoor images for the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” were shot in two Mediterranean countries. The scenes which were set in the 12th-century France were shot in Spain, while the ones in Holy Land were shot in Morocco.
Ridley Scott knows both countries perfectly well. In Spain, he made the film “1492 – Conquest for paradise”, and in Morocco, he made fragments of “Gladiator” and “Black Hawk Down”.
In both cases, the attractive locations allowed him to enrich the visual side of the film.
Initially, a team of 436 people joined Scott for the picture-taking that took place in Almeria. Additional 443 people joined the crew when the scenes were shot in Morocco.
A total of 25,000 to 30,000 extras took part in the implementation of some of the scenes. The crew’s efforts were supported by the Moroccan army. “Moroccan soldiers are well-trained and great at riding,” says Scott. – “Without the help of the Palace of His Majesty Mohammed VI, we would never have made this movie.”