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Hardy-inspired shepherd’s hut to hit the big screen

Amy Brice

Far from the madding crowd

Richard Lee and Jane Dennison, owners of Dorset-based shepherd’s hut maker, Plankbridge, are looking forward to seeing their time-honoured skills and traditional craftsmanship on the big screen in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, which hits cinemas in the UK and Ireland on Friday 1 May. The film directed by Thomas Vinterberg stars Carey Milligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Juno Temple.

Based right in the heart of Hardy country at their workshop in Piddlehinton, Richard and Jane were involved in the building of Gabriel Oak’s (Matthias Schoenaerts) shepherd’s hut for this screen adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s literary classic, directed by Thomas Vinterberg (Academy Award®-nominated The Hunt) from a screenplay by David Nicholls (One Day, Great Expectations).

With a classic Plankbridge roof, heavy duty chassis, authentic horse drawn shafts and cast iron wheels, this carefully crafted prop was made according to the Victorian heritage of the shepherd’s huts that would have been commonplace during Hardy’s lifetime.

“The hut in Far From the Madding Crowd is probably the most iconic ever and it was a real honour to be involved. Thomas Hardy’s writing has been a huge influence on our shepherd’s hut making and we’re so proud that the film production team asked us to help with the build. The attention to detail from the set builders was genuinely staggering and really inspiring to witness, such as the clever ageing of the bed and stove. It was great fun to be a part of this much-anticipated release and we can’t wait to see it,”

explains Richard, owner and co-founder of Plankbridge.

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD is produced by Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich of DNA Films. Christine Langan is executive producer for BBC Films. Director of photography is Charlotte Bruus Christensen and production designer is Kave Quinn. Costumes have been designed by BAFTA winner and four times Academy Award® nominee Janet Patterson, and hair and make-up designer is BAFTA award winner Sian Grigg.

For more information about Plankbridge Hutmakers, visit www.plankbridge.com.