Catherine Called Birdy: Where Was The Movie Shot?
The titular teen in the 12th Century England is the focus of the medieval comedy “Catherine Called Birdy,” which is available on Amazon Prime. Lady Catherine, often known as Birdy, is a 14-year-old member of the nobility whose father is determined to find her a compatible marriage. The young woman, however, is not interested in getting married and instead wants to establish her own identity. Catherine is as free-spirited as her pet birds and chooses to use her voice to empower those who are similar to her rather than submit to social norms.
The historical drama, which stars Bella Ramsey, Andrew Scott, Billie Piper, and Joe Alwyn, is based on Karen Cushman’s 1994 novel of the same name. The film, which was directed by Lena Dunham, strikes viewers with its strong messages about gender equality and standing up for one’s convictions while still keeping it lighthearted with humorous passages that bring back childhood memories. In addition, the tale is more authentic thanks to the actual backdrop of a medieval English castle, which raises the intriguing question of where the exciting scenes for “Catherine Called Birdy” were shot. Here is what we discovered if you are interested in learning more!
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Locations for Catherine Called Birdy
The entire filming of “Catherine Called Birdy” took place in England, notably in Shropshire County. The movie’s main shooting was planned to have started in April 2020, however it was quickly put on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. In March 2021, the shooting eventually picked back up, and it was finished in May of that same year. Let’s now explore each of the places where Birdy has her adventures.
England’s Shropshire County
The historical landlocked county of Shropshire in the West Midlands of England served as the backdrop for different scenes in the film “Catherine Called Birdy.” Stokesay, a historic hamlet and former civil parish near to the River Onny, served as the cast and crew’s main base of operations. The Stokesay Castle, which serves as Birdy’s substitute home, was where the majority of the film was shot. One of the best preserved fortified manors in the nation, it is situated on Ludlow Road.
The de Lacy family originally held ownership of Stokesay Castle, which was later purchased by wool merchant Laurence de Ludlow, who finished construction on the building in the late 13th century. The property is currently a historical site that English Heritage maintains. The medieval comedy’s production crew spent about nine weeks filming key scenes across the castle and its environs.
Lena Dunham, the film’s director, explained why she choose the castle as the major site in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. She remarked, “Stokessay Castle and England’s remarkable preservation scheme for historically significant locations. I knew we had to shoot there as soon as I saw it. The castle I saw, Stokesay, is not the tiniest or the largest, but it is also fairly modern for the time period. It appeared to have been recently constructed during the time we were supposed to be filming.
While sequences were being recorded, careful safety precautions were taken to protect the property, and the set designers painstakingly constructed a number of props to lend more detail to the backdrop. A few significant scenes were also filmed in Ludlow, a medieval market town located 6 miles northwest of Stokesay, as well as Stokesay. Several sequences in the film take place on the grounds of Ludlow Castle, an 11th-century fortified medieval ruin that can be found in Castle Square.
Details On The Film Catherine Called Birdy
Cushman revealed the following about the methods she used to conduct research for the book: “I try to find out everything I can about a period, particularly the everyday things: what did people eat? Where exactly did they go to relieve themselves? I conduct research in order to gather information such as history, dates, places, languages, sounds, and smells… I discovered everything there is to know about keeping bees, shearing sheep, making ointments and remedies, having fears and superstitions, speaking a different language, eating different foods, having proper table manners, taking baths, and using privies. On the other hand, the ideas, attitudes, assumptions, values, and expectations that I researched were just as important, if not more so.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Lena Dunham discussed her personal connection to the novel and how she found it to be distinct from other works of young adult fiction published in the 1990s. She also discussed how the novel inspired her to become a filmmaker. “When I was ten years old, which was perfect because it was a little advanced for me, so I felt a little naughty reading it, I read it for the first time. While my father and I were shopping at Barnes & Noble, I started reading the book on my own. By the time we got home, I had finished about a quarter of it. After that, it turned into something that I would simply read over and over again.
At the beginning of 2013, Dunham sent a letter to the author requesting permission to adapt the book, and after that, there was no turning back. She collaborated closely with Cushman and Helen Caster, a historical consultant, to accurately portray the atmosphere of the 12th century and the details of life during that time in the narrative. Both the book and the movie, “Catherine Called Birdy,” paint an accurate picture of what life was like during the middle ages, despite the fact that “Catherine Called Birdy” is based primarily on fiction. In addition, young women and girls receive a message of empowerment from the story through Birdy’s adventures, which is that they should live their lives according to their own terms.
Story of Catherine, Called Birdy
Karen Cushman has written her first book for young readers, which is titled Catherine, Called Birdy. It is a historical novel written in the form of a diary and takes place in England during the 13th century. It was released in 1994, and in 1995 it was recognized with both a Newbery Honor and a Golden Kite Award.
Plot of Catherine, Called Birdy
The events of the story begin in September of 1290, when Catherine is giving a description of her life up to that point. She discusses her family, including her bawdy, loud, and disagreeable father and her kind and sweet mother. She also discusses the people she comes into contact with on a daily basis. The feast days of various Catholic saints are referred to throughout the book. Because she has so many birds in her care, Catherine is sometimes referred to as “Birdy.” There are three brothers who are her elders. Robert, the oldest, has earned the title of knight. He marries his betrothed despite the fact that she is only 12 years old, but she passes away due to complications during the delivery of their child. Thomas, Catherine’s younger brother, is currently employed by the King of England. Edward, a monk who resides in a nearby abbey and is the person with whom she maintains the most contact and correspondence, is her closest friend.
The dynamic that exists between Catherine and her parents is a recurrent theme throughout the story. Her mother has high hopes that she will grow up to be an accomplished and submissive lady, while her father has high hopes that she will marry well and make advantageous social connections. A number of potential suitors show up at Stonebridge Manor with the intention of wooing Lady Catherine, but none of them are able to live up to her standards and requirements. In the end, Catherine’s father insists that she wed an elderly and reprehensible man whom she refers to in her diary as “Shaggy Beard.” She spends the year detailed in her diary plotting various escapes and alternative versions of her life, such as running away to become a monk or escaping to another country in order to fight in the Crusades. She spends most of her time fighting the marriage.
One of the most important subplots of the book is when her favorite uncle, George, returns from the Crusades and falls in love with Catherine’s best friend, Lady Aelis. This occurs when her favorite uncle, George, returns home from the Crusades. They are unable to marry one another due to the fact that George does not hold a prominent position in society. Instead, both of them end up marrying other people: George, an eccentric older Saxon businesswoman named Ethelfritha, who was struck by lightning; and Aelis, a seven-year-old duke. Catherine’s mind wanders to topics such as destiny, love, and the weight of responsibility.
When Catherine’s wedding day draws near, she makes a break for it and goes to stay with her uncle and aunt. She comes to the conclusion that she won’t change no matter who she marries, and as a result, she gives her uncle permission to take her back home. However, when she arrives, she is greeted with the happy news that Shaggy Beard has passed away as a result of an altercation in a tavern and that she is now engaged to Stephen, the son of Shaggy Beard, who is a good person who is also young and educated. This pairing gives her a lot of happiness, and she finds herself fantasizing about getting married to him and counting down the days until they can finally be together.
She goes to Lincoln with her father, for example, or spends a few days at Lady Aelis’s manor, but her travels in England are limited. Catherine, Called Birdy discusses everything from the mundane events of her life (killing fleas, spinning and embroidery) to festivals and holidays (such as Easter or May Day, many of which are celebrated by the entire village) to her travels in England, which are limited.
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Development for Catherine, Called Birdy
Cushman commented on this book in an interview with ipl2 by saying, “For a very long time, my curiosity had been piqued by the period of time known as the Middle Ages. The color, the pageantry, the costumes, and the music are all appealing to me. It was a fascinating period of time when western civilization was developing towards the Renaissance, much like a young child maturing into a teenager. After doing some research on how children used to spend their time in the past, I got the idea to write books that took place during that era.” Cushman explains the idea that she had for the book, which was to be a diary that detailed the personal experiences and thoughts of a young woman living in medieval England: “I tried to put myself in their shoes and imagine what their lives were like when they lacked power and were of little value. Particularly young female children. I pondered how they managed to maintain their sense of self-worth despite the fact that they did not have much value; how they decided what to do when there were not many options available; and how they lived when they had very little influence.”
Cushman reveals that she was 50 years old when she wrote this, her first book, as well as the circumstances surrounding how she came to write it, in a recorded interview that can be found on teachingbooks.net.
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Discovered by Kirkus Reviews “The time period has rarely been presented for young people with such authenticity; the exotic details will fascinate readers while they relate more closely to Birdy’s yearning for independence and her sensitivity toward those who are oppressed. Her tenacity and ebullient naivety are both extraordinary; this first novel is a delight because it is both funny and thought-provoking at the same time.” In spite of the overly convenient ending, Publishers Weekly stated that “this first novel introduces an admirable heroine and pungently evokes a largely unfamiliar setting.” It was referred to as a “spirited novel that offers a warts-and-all view of the Middle Ages” by Common Sense Media, which also stated that the book “draws readers into a rich, well-realized world where the trappings are fascinatingly old-fashioned, but the characters are universal and relatable.”