The Last Czars location: How Netflix show was NOT filmed in Russia
The Last Czars on Netflix is a six-part docudrama series about the last-ever Tsar of Russia. Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate on March 15, 1917, after the February revolution with overthrew the Russian monarchy. He and his family were then imprisoned at The House of Special Purpose in Yekaterinburg. On July 17, 1918, the Tsar and his family were executed by Bolshevik guards. The series follows key events of the Tsar’s reign that led up to his fatal end and the collapse of monarchial rule in Russia.
The Last Czars on Netflix was not filmed in Russia, despite the show being set there.
The series is a documentary and also a dramatisation of past events.
The series follows the reign of Tsar Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia, who ruled from 1894 until 1917.
Nicholas and his family were executed by Bolshevik soldiers on July 17, 1918.
Therefore, filming in Russia in the present day would not only be expensive and difficult, but the setting would not match the time series The Last Czars is set in.
However, filming outside of Russia did not stop the creators of the show from making some remarkable location and timing errors.
HOW THE LAST CZARS WAS FILMED IN THE SAME PLACE AS CHERNOBYL AND WAR AND PEACE
For example, The opening shot of The Last Czars features the famous Red Square in Moscow.
The shot is clearly taken in the present day as it features Lenin’s mausoleum.
However, the creators of The Last Czars have dated the shot as February 4, 1905.
Lenin was well and truly alive at this time and his mausoleum did not exist until after his death in 1924.
They also use the wrong Russian alphabet throughout the series, using modern Cyrillic instead of the pre-1917 form.
DID RASPUTIN HAVE MAGIC POWERS?
The Last Czars was filmed in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania.
At the same time, HBO’s Chernobyl was also being filmed.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Ben Cartwright who plays Rasputin in the series revealed that the used the same sets that wee used to film scenes of BBC’s War and Peace.
He said: “It’s [Vilnius] stunning. We filmed mainly in Lithuania and a little bit of Latvia but it was all the same sets used for BBC’s War and Peace.
“We were in genuine places, genuine Russian Orthodox Churches, genuine icons, palaces and all that sort of stuff. It just helped the whole thing look absolutely incredible.
“The sets and the location just made it feel really authentic and amazing.”
HOW DID LENIN RISE TO POWER?
Verkiai Palace in Lithuania served as the Moscow residence of Count Yusupov, who murdered Rasputin.
The open-air museum, Rumsiskes, in Lithuania which has more than 150 19th Century wooden huts was the setting for Rasptutin’s Siberian village.
The Last Czars was also filmed at Rundale Palace in Latvia, which is where War and Peace was also shot.
Speaking to Broadcast, showrunner Hereward Pelling explained how it was difficult to film in the incredible palace because it is also a tourist attraction.
He recalled: “On day one of principal photography, we found ourselves locking down bedrooms, corridors and stairways an hour at a time, holding back a curious horde of Japanese tourists.`
“They got tantalising glimpses of the birth of Anastasia, Alexandra of Hesse in full bridal wardrobe and, perhaps most extraordinary of all, Rasputin being buried in the landscaped gardens.”
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Susanna Herbert who plays Alexandra added: “We also shot in a palace called Rundale in Latvia which was designed by the same architect as the Winter Palace in St Petersburg.
“It was an incredible experience – I was pinching myself throughout a lot of it! I definitely recommend going to Vilnius for anyone who hasn’t been.”
The only part of The Last Czars that was not shot in Lithuania was the cellar scene of the Ipatiev House where the Romanov family were executed.
Instead, a purpose-built set was built to resemble the basement.
Pelling explained: ‘“In hiring Baltic Film Services as our location partner, we struck gold. Operating out of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Baltic helped bring Russian-set epics War And Peace, Chernobyl and Catherine The Great to our screens.”
The Last Czars is streaming on Netflix now
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