Release Date:  August 2008
Legende Films, MNP Enterprise, Studio Canal,
20th Century Fox, OKKO Production
Distributors:  20th Century Fox,
Studio Canal, Mars Distribution
Producers:  Alain Goldman, Mathieu Kassovitz,
Selwyn Roberts, Gary Ungar
Director:  Mathieu Kassovitz
Cinematography:  Thierry Arbogast
Music:  Atli Orvarsson
Screenplay:  Mathieu Kassovitz, Eric Besnard
Editing:  Benjamin Weill
Costume Design:  Chattoune
Stunt Coordinator:  Bob Brown
Budget:  US$65 million
MPAA Rating:  PG-13
101 minutes (European version),         91 minutes (Fox version for US/UK)
Dr. Arthur Darquandier
Jerome Le Banner
Rebecca Michelle Yeoh
Toorop   Vin Diesel
Aurora Melanie Thierry
Gorsky Gerard Depardieu
Priestess Charlotte Rampling
Darquandier Lambert Wilson
Finn Mark Strong
Babylon A.D. Release Dates: 2008:
Aug. 20, France
Aug. 28, Russia
Aug. 28, Malaysia
Aug. 29, North America
Aug. 29, U.K.
Sept. 3, Philippines
Sept. 4, Portugal
Sept. 5, South Africa
Sept. 11, Singapore
Sept. 11, German
Sept. 11, Austria
Sept. 25, Holland
Sept. 26, Spain
Sept. 26, Taiwan
Sept. 26, Vietnam
Oct. 2, South Korea
Oct. 2, Australia
Oct. 3, Norway
Oct. 3, Finland
Oct. 10, India
Oct. 24, Italy
Oct. 30, Hong Kong
Oct. 30, Thailand
Nov 17, China
Nov. 27, Greece
May 9, Japan
Toorop (Vin Diesel ) is hired by Mafia boss Gorsky (Gerard Depardieu) to deliver a package to New York. To his surprise, the package is a beautiful young woman, Aurora (Melanie Thierry), whose tutor, kickboxing nun Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh), insists on accompanying Toorop on his mission.
Here are some new Babylon A.D. images. The last two images are
from the Japanese game site. The very last one is actually from a scene
which was not shown in the final cut of the film but it is in the
script (they actually shot the scene apparently), describing the trio's encounter
with a Chinese-speaking family on the train.
- Cover pics of Babylon A.D. Blue Ray/DVD.
- U.K. DVD/Blue Ray of Babylon A.D. will be released on December 29th
with an extended version of the film, 97 minutes.
- Chinese poster. The film is to be released in Mainland China on the 17th.
Region 1 Babylon A.D. DVD/Blue Ray will be released in the U.S. and Canada
on January 6. It will include a new raw and uncut version running 11
minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Total 101 minutes.
(Babylon AD Blog)
(10/29/08)Babylon A.D. has been scheduled to release in Mainland China on
November 17th, according to Chinese media.
- Reportedly Babylon A.D. will not be releases in Mainland China
until late November, and it will be the last imported
film for the country this year. Meanwhile, many Chinese audiences
have already watched it from pirated sources. Online download links
can been seen everywhere on Chinese discussion boards.
- Film images:
(images from "Sina", "QQ" and "PL")
The release date of Babylon A.D. in Mainland China has been
postponed to November, Chinese media reported. There is no fixed date given.
- New film stills (from "Mtime", "Movist" and "Tungstar"):
(09/24/08)Babylon A.D. has been scheduled to release in Mainland China on
October 24. The film will be shown in threatres in both English and
Chinese dubbed versions. The Chinese title is "Sheng Si Xin Ji Yuan" (New Era of Life and Death).
The release dates in Taiwan and Hong Kong are September 26 and October 30
respectively, with a different Chinese title, "Babylon Mi Ma" (Babylon Code).
There is a version of the Malaysian poster that has Michelle's image added.
The giant poster was seen on the expressway in Kuala Lumpur and the
same poster was also displayed on Light Rail Transit. Photos were taken by Sheryn.
(1) Malaysian poster   (2) poster on a Light Rail Transit   (3-4) poster by expressway
- photo at left: Michelle, Melanie Thierry, and Vin Diesel in Babylon A.D..
- As reported, the French version of the film is 10 minutes longer than the U.S. Fox version. Here are
some of the differences between the two versions:
1. some of the scenes which are in the French version but missing in the U.S.version:
Toorop skins a rabbit; Aurora helps get the seats on the train; shooting bunny;
2. longer sequences with more details in the French version in
these scenes: the starting sequence; meeting at
Neolite's headquarters; doctor examines Aurora; Toorop's memory flash;
3. different scenes/sequences/ending: (STRONG SPOILER WARNING - highlight the text in the brackets if you would
like to read)
[Sister Rebecca's final moment - unlike in the U.S. version, in French version Rebecca
looked at Toorop but did not say anything; ending sequence: in French version there is no car chase. It went
forward to six months later in hospital and the hospital scene is much longer. No twin kids were shown.].
Special feature from MSN Taiwan
(02:15, in English w/Chinese subtitles)
Melanie Thierry interview
(03:03, in English)
- Director Mathieu Kassovitz is unhappy about the final product because of the interference from the 20th Century Fox.
"I never had a chance to do one scene the way it was written or the way I wanted it to be," said Kassovitz,
"It (the film) is pure violence and stupidity." Read full article on
- Film stills (images from "Joblo", "Yahoo" and "MoviePlayer"):
- Posters from Taiwan and South Korea are added in Babylon A.D. Posters.
The film is scheduled to release in Taiwan on September 26 and South Korea on October 2.
(08/18/08)Babylon A.D. contests:
(win tickets for premiere at Aug 26 & 27)
(win T-shirts & tickets)
(win posters and film tickets)
- A press junket for Babylon A.D. will be held on August 19 in
New York. Michelle, Vin Diesel, Melanie Thierry, and director Mathieu Kassovitz
are scheduled to attend.
The film will be released in the U.S. on August 29th by 20th Century Fox.
It will be a wide release - 3250 plus locations. The French release date
is set on August 20.
- French Official Site opened.
A new "Making Of" video. Some wall papers (no Michelle?!).
I have gotten a screenplay draft of "Babylon A.D." which is dated on June 2, 2006,
written by Mathieu Kassovitz and Eric Besnard and revised by David Klass. Although
it's not the final shooting script, from released trailers and clips, we can see
the main story line and many scenes were kept the same, and there are also some changes. This
version of the screenplay would definitely get a R-rating, based on its
graphic violent scenes and frequently used foul language. I assume these have been changed,
at least in the 20th Century Fox version for U.S./U.K. since the actual
rating is PG-13/12A and the actual film (Fox version) was described by
BBFC as containing "infrequent strong language and moderate violence."
(see previous report on 04/02/08)
(06/29/08)[AN UPDATE TO NOTICE from June 3]
First, I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has been concerned about
my friend Wen in China, regardless of whether you have written to me.
After a month...   Read more...
(06/25/08)Official French trailer
It is slightly different from the U.S. trailer. I noticed more fights, a shot of Michelle's jump
(around 00:49-00:50) and obviously different ending.
The English version of Maurice Dantec's novel, "Babylon Babies", will be re-released
on July 29th by Del Rey, the science fiction and fantasy section of Random House.
Originally they considered to publish the novel under the title "Babylon A.D.",
"to tie into the Fox motion picture of the same name", but they kept the
title "Babylon Babies" in the end.
(Paperback, 544 pages. Preorder at
Official Babylon A.D. images (HQ):
(photos from "StudioCanal" and "DVD Forum")
The Italian release date of Babylon A.D. is October 3rd, by Moviemax.
Director Mathieu Kassovitz said that he read the novel "Babylon Babies" by Maurice Dantec in
2002 and he thought it would make a great movie. It was challenging to
adapt it as a movie though, since every reader may have different understanding to
the same words. This movie is his own vision of the story, he said. During
the writing of the screenplay, the film became more and more "inspired by"
rather than an actual adaptation of the book. There are changes to the history, scenes,
and characters. And it is a reason why he changed the title from "Babylon Babies" to "Babylon A.D."
and changed the name of the character "Marie" as well. In the novel the main characters
spent 6 months in Montreal, Canada, and in the film, it is in New York and that part of the
story is reduced to 3 minutes of film.
BABYLON A.D. means the era of Babylon, the city of evil, Kassovitz said.
Kassovitz said he wanted Vin Diesel for Toorop and pushed for him, although the studios
had different opinions initially. He chose Melanie Thierry for Aurora, a girl who
represents purity and gives audiences a feeling that she was created by computer and
was from another world. Also it was important to have some French element in the film. The
U.S. side initially rejected the choice until they understood Aurora should be played by
someone who is less known. Talking about casting Michelle, Kassovitz said he needed an
Asian beauty and "Michelle is the most beautiful woman in the world. She is part of the
history of the cinema." At the beginning the character was written as a real nun. Then as an
action film Kassovitz wanted a "fighting nun". Kassovitz said once Michelle said yes,
it was easier to convince some other famous French actors. Everyone was amused Gerard Depardieu
plays the role of Gorsky. Kassovitz wanted an icon to play the bad guy.
Kassovitz said Maurice Dantec trusted him and gave him all the freedom to make changes to
the book. Although Dantec liked the script, Kassovitz said he's yet to see the reactions of
the novelist - as well as all fans of the book - to the final film.
(06/03/08)[NOTICE] I'm sorry to announce that I may not have time to update this site for several days, or even longer.
I just learned terrible news from China. Read more...
The release date for Babylon A.D. in Taiwan is scheduled on September 26.
According to StudioCanal, the French production and distribution company of the film, Babylon A.D. has been scheduled to
release in France on August 20 (previously scheduled on August 27). The running time of the French (European)
version is 101 minutes (the Fox cut for the U.S. and U.K. is 91 minutes).
Reports from Cannes Market said that Italian indie distributor Moviemax has picked up all
Italian rights for Babylon A.D.. Moviemax plans to submit the film to
the Rome and Venice film festivals to gain local exposure ahead of a planned
September release in Italy. Babylon A.D. has already sold out in most of the world,
with Concorde picking up the title in Germany, StudioCanal in France, UPI in Benelux,
Aurum in Spain and West Company in Russia, among others. Twentieth Century Fox has the
rights to the film in the U.S. and the U.K., according to "Hollywood Reporter".
Guillaume Colboc, a production coordinator for Babylon A.D.
of MNP, responded to the recent rumors on the length of the film
Babylon AD Production Blog.
There will be two versions of the film - director Mathieu Kassovitz's
European version, which is approximately 100 minutes, and a Fox cut
which is 90 minutes. The post said that the rumor about a 2h40min cut came from a joke
Kassovitz did in front of some journalists last September.
StudioCanal is working on teasers and the poster for the European
territories and a French teaser will be released soon.
In as early as February, "Cineuropa" had a scoop that "Babylon A.D.
is an impressive candidate for opening film (set to screen out of competition)"
at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival (May 14-25). More rumors have
been suggesting the film is a candidate for either opening or closing
film. The official Cannes selection is to be announced on April 23.
(04/02/08)Babylon A.D. has obtained the UK rating of 12A (equivalent to PG-13)
for "infrequent strong language and moderate violence". The running time
is 90 minuets and the "work was passed with no cuts made."
"...The BBFC passed
the film '12A' for infrequent strong language and moderate
violence. The film contains one clear use of strong language that is
directed from lead character Toorop to the female character of
Rebecca; however, its use has no sexual connotations and forms the
role of establishing the two opposing characters. This is in keeping
with the BBFC's current
12A Guidelines which state that 'the use
of strong language must be infrequent'. The film also contains
frequent use of moderate language... The moderate violence featured is of the
standard action movie fare and includes explosions, impressionistic
fight scenes and gun battles. There are occasional bloody moments
including a brutal cage fight between Toorop and a viscious gladiator
and another scene which features (SPOILER WARNING - highlight the text in the brackets if you would
like to read)
[a slow-motion bullet entering the
body of Rebecca]. These moments in the film are infrequent and do not
linger on bloody injuries. Their inclusion is largely mitigated by the
fantastical science-fiction context and well contained within the
current '12A' Guidelines which allow for 'occasional gory moments
This is a photo taken on the Paris Tuning Show 2008. Some bikes which will be featured
in Babylon A.D. were on the display. Director Mathieu Kassovitz attended the event.
(more photos can be seen at
(02/01/08)Babylon A.D. received the MPAA (The Motion Picture Association of America)
rating of "PG-13" - "for intense sequences of violence and action, language
and some sexuality," said on the MPAA official site.
New images from Babylon A.D.. Mostly Vin Diesel. The last
photo has Melanie Thierry and if you look carefully, you can see
a BIT of Michelle (at the very right).
(photos from "MoviesOnline.ca")
Shavo Odadjian, the bassist for the American-based alternative metal
band System of a Down, has been added to the musician list working
on the Babylon A.D. soundtrack. Working closely on the score with
composers Hans Zimmer and Atli Orvarsson, Odadjian is collaborating
with a writing/scoring partner, Wu-Tang Clan's The RZA, writing and
scoring several tracks as well as various "futuristic-specific"
musical themes and orchestration throughout the film. "Musically,
our objective was to merge the sounds and energies of hip hop with
classical music, seamlessly melting them into an unusual soundscape,"
explained Zimmer. "Shavo's unique talent, perspective and ability have
achieved exactly that, and then some."
Much of the music for the score is being performed by Achozen, the
musical alliance formed by Odadjian and The RZA.
Del Rey, the science fiction and fantasy section of Random House,
has acquired mass market rights for Maurice Dantec's "Babylon Babies".
They are going to publish the novel under the title "Babylon A.D.",
"to tie into the Fox motion picture of the same name", as stated in
an official newsletter. The book was planned to go on sale in late
January of 2008, a month ahead of the film release which was originally
scheduled for the end of February. Currently the release of the
new edition has been re-scheduled on July 29, 2008.
(ISBN: 978-0-345-50597-2, 0-345-50597-2. Paperback, 544 pages.
It's not only the U.S. release which got pushed to August next year. According
to StudioCanal (distribution company), the French release is now scheduled on August 27, 2008.
has brought a news that saying the FOX release of Babylon A.D. has been pushed back to
August 29th 2008.
(10/30/07)Art of the future,
an interview with one of the "Bad Contest" winners, Jean-Michel Tari,
who works at UBISOFT's Shanghai Studio. His contest winning HD short advertising
will be integrated into the film.
- A Synopsis of Babylon A.D.:
The world has turned into shambles and chaos reigns
supreme. Refugees are doing anything to escape the death and poverty
of Europe and Asia. There's one man who isn't running. Toorop
(Vin Diesel), a gun for hire with a simple rule: don't ask
questions. His new assignment has him escorting a nun and a girl from
a convent in Central Asia to New York City. When it becomes apparent
there is more to these women than meets the eye, Toorop has to start
asking some questions, rules of the trade be damned. It will take all
of his mercenary skills to get his "package" through militarized
zones, fight clubs, gang wars, and packs of religious zealots.
(Source: 20th Century Fox)
Above description is published by Malaysia's
Golden Screen Cinemas.
According to the source, the release date is currently scheduled to be
February 28, 2008 for Malaysia, Michelle's home country. The French
release date is reportedly to be February 27.
has published a teaser poster of the film, from the film convention,
The Icelandic composer Atli Orvarsson said on his
he's currently composing the score for Babylon A.D..
"The score will be a combination of orchestral elements, voices
and electronica. The acclaimed rapper and hip-hop artist RZA of
Wu-Tang Clan, along with System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian, also
collaborate on the music for the film. The score will be recorded at
the end of November."
According to France's "AlloCine", director Mathieu Kassovitz said that
will have two versions. A longer one, 2 hours and 40 minutes, for the
European market and a shorter version for the United States. The European
release date is February 27, 2008.
These two photos were taken on April 27 during the Prague filming, published at a
Hoang Nghi website.
Born in Paris and trained in Kung Fu by his father, Hoang Nghi (a.k.a. Marc Hoang)
had worked on films including Rush Hour 3 and Kiss of the Dragon
(as Jet Li's double) before boarding Babylon A.D..
(thanks Brenda of
(Hoang Nghi with Michelle and director Mathieu Kassovitz)
Suzuki Motor Corporation announced last month that Babylon A.D.
will feature several of their vehicles. We will see the Grand Vitaras
transformed into New York taxis, a Landbreeze is spectacularly
destroyed in a thrilling action scene, and the Splash makes a brief
appearance between important motor show commitments in Geneva and China.
The French trio "Outlines" is working on the musical content for Babylon A.D..
(07/30/07)Babylon A.D. is currently under post-production. The director
would like to enhance the authenticity of the film by adding
futuristic and innovative ads and fake news footage. They
will be integrated throughout the film on various screens: futuristic
TVs, personal tablets, vehicles and on the sides of New York buildings.
MNP, one of the Babylon A.D. production companies, has launched a
contest looking for clips of futuristic ads or news. The winning clips
will appear in the movie and the creator will have his/her name
mentioned in the credits. For contact information see
The deadline is September 30th.
(07/23/07)New York Post
reported that since the production was behind the schedule and over budget,
Film Finances Inc., which insures financial backers for the film
completion, had to hand over $1.5 million to pay for additional
filming in Paris and Prague.
The title of Babylon A.D. has been removed from Comic-Con
International San Diego's official event schedule.
Twentieth Century Fox yesterday pulled several more
highly touted films from next week's Comic-Con in San Diego, saying
that "the material wasn't ready.")
(07/09/07)Comic-Con International San Diego (July 26-29)
has officially released the event schedule. Babylon A.D. is
listed under Twentieth Century Fox's presentation, Friday July 27,
The last shot of Babylon A.D. was filmed on Monday, July 2nd,
with Charlotte Rampling at SFP's Bry-sur-Marne Studios in France.
Director Mathieu Kassovitz has now completed the six month production and he will
be concentrating on the post-production, which is taking place in France. The
film is aiming to release at the beginning of 2008, according to the director.
The Behind Scenes Teaser has been officially released online
at One Race Films,
the website of Vin Diesel's company.
The clip is marked "Work In Progress" and has an extra shot of Gerard Depardieu
and Vin Diesel at the end.
Another interview with Michelle during last month's Cannes Film Festival,
on Le Film Francais
(scroll down. in French).
Asked about her character in the film, Michelle said:
"I'm not supposed to say too much. I am the Yin, and Melanie
Thierry, the Yang. Mathieu wanted me to do action. Have to say that
I performed lots of stunts. More than Vin Diesel. But I made sure not to
have my hair messed up. Aren't I a L'Oreal ambassador! (laughs)"
(thanks Arnaud for the translation. for translation of the
rest of the interview please see News, June
French "Gala" has three short video clips from an interview of Michelle at
the Cannes Film Festival last month, "3 questions with Michelle Yeoh". The
is about Babylon A.D. filming. Interviewed on May 22nd.
"We've been filming - I've been filming - since January, and I only
wrapped last week. So I'm still feeling a little nostalgic because
they've been like family, you know, for the last 5 months. And like
family, we've been having an incredible time. We fight. We love one
another. We hate each other. We have fun, then we go out and we don't
talk to each other. But Mattieu is a brilliant, very very talented
(thanks Dean for the transcript)
- Thomas Couetdic (whose photo with Michelle was seen early on 05/14) mentioned in his
that a planned parkour car chase scene which was supposed to be the last scene for the
traceurs was canceled. And he thanked a few people from the filming team, including
"the very kind Michelle Yeoh".
- The three most recent posts (from May 25 to June 6) on French
are all Babylon A.D. related: a set photo with Vin Diesel, an
interview with Michelle (same article as mentioned 05/29 here),
and they also have the entire video on Mathieu Kassovitz's press conference
in Cannes, including the "Making of Babylon A.D." and the Michelle bit.
(06/05/07)Babylon A.D. is on the preliminary list of featured films
Comic-Con International San Diego,
which will be held July 26 - 29 in San Diego, California.
Although the principle photography of Babylon A.D. has been completed, some
filming is still going on. The second unit will finish shoot next Thursday.
And they will be shooting in Paris for four days with Charlotte Rampling
and Gerard Depardieu at the beginning of July.
published a new Michelle interview from Cannes (May 23, in French).
Q: You finished the filming of "Babylon A.D.", Mathieu Kassovitz's next
thriller inspired by Maurice Dantec's book "Babylon Babies". How did it go? MICHELLE: Filming lasted more than five months and it finished just
a week ago. I'm glad! Mathieu Kassovitz is brilliant, impassioned, and
obsessed in his work. In short, he is insane (laughter). My agent in Los Angeles
is also an agent of Mathieu's, through whom we met in Paris before I was offered the role.
Q: Which role do you play in "Babylon A.D."? MICHELLE: I am Sister Rebecca, a nun who left the monastery. I have
a lot of action, even more than Vin Diesel, I'd say! And I do not
have protection (Jane's note: does it mean "bodyguard" or "stunt double"?),
it is me who hits the others...
An exciting experience was to work with David Belle, who choreographed
some sequences. It is really incredible: he moves like a cat, or I should
say, like a tiger!
for the article link).
Charlotte Rampling and Michelle were both invited as award presenters
at the closing ceremony of the 60th Cannes Film Festival. Charlotte Rampling
presented the Best Screenplay Award and Michelle the Best Director.
(for photos/videos see News, May 27/29. two
of the group photos have Rampling)
Video download (Windows Media):
1. Making of Babylon A.D. (Behind Scenes Featurette/Teaser) (01:10, 8MB)
teaser download has been removed from this site per Twentieth Century Fox's request.
For video clips see Bablylon A.D. Video Clips.
2. Michelle Yeoh on Babylon A.D.   (00:46, 5.3MB)
Director Mathieu Kassovitz and Michelle were promoting the film during
the Cannes Film Festival. On the 24th, Mathieu Kassovitz held a press
conference (in French), and an one minute "Making of" video was shown to the press
(in English with French subtitles) which gives us a glance of the
film. Also shown was a bit interview with Michelle which was recorded
at a separate press conference in Cannes two days earlier.
(videos of the entire press conferences can be seen at French
Kassovitz's is under May 24, 1st part; Michelle's
is under May 22, 4th part.
For more reports and photos of Michelle in Cannes please
see News, May 20-23, 27).
video scans from Making of Babylon A.D.
Michelle and Mathieu Kassovitz talking to the press (video scans)
Mathieu Kassovitz said Dantec's novel, "Babylon Babies", is hard to be
directly translated into a movie. They made some changes in the
film version of the adaption. They changed the title to "Babylon A.D."
so the novel fans wouldn't expect it to be exactly the same as the book.
Kassovitz spoke highly about Michelle. He said she is a true living
legend for him. He said Michelle is absolutely extraordinary and he's
proud of having her on the project.
Michelle talked about the filming and the director:
"It was a spectacular experience - challenging, tough, very very
rough. It's a big action film with Vin Diesel. Mathieu is a very
talented director. He's dynamic. He's temperamental. He's also an
actor so he knows what's like to be in front of the cameras."
(thanks Carole, Janine,
and others from the VinX forum. Special thanks to BAM for editing the videos)
Filming of Babylon A.D. has been completed,
reported "Variety". Michelle finished her part last weekend
in Prague. Started last December, the production lasted
more than five months.
At left is a photo of Michelle and Thomas Couetdic, one of the 11
traceurs who worked on Babylon A.D.. The film will feature some
parkour scenes choreographed by David Belle, the founder of this sport.
Couetdic participated in both Ostrava and Prague shooting.
(photo from Thomas Couetdic's
According to Czech reports, the set construction of the "Brooklyn Square"
at Barrandov Studio took 4 months with 120 people. 1300 cubic meters of
wood was used which is equivalent to 15 wooden houses with a floorspace
of 10x10 meters. On the square they also built a market and railway
station. In addition to the wood, the construction of the square also
used 570 cubic meters of asphalt for roads, 400 cubic meters of concrete
for pavements and other areas, and 1,900 running meters of concrete curbstones.
Over 30,000 square meters of terrain were modified while leveling the
terrain required for this set. The "Brooklyn Square" set cost about
50 million Czech crowns (approximately US$2.4 million).
(thanks Klara for the help with translation)
Michelle has finished filming at Riksgransen and has been back to Prague.
Thursday was the last day of filming for Babylon A.D. at the
Riksgransen ski resort.
Both Michelle and Vin Diesel were at Riksgransen, Sweden.
About six minutes of the movie will be from the shootings at Riksgransen,
which include a long pursuit with lots of shooting and explosions. There
were about 80 film crew members on set with a local miner, who
helped to blow up a snowmobile.
X Games gold medalist Chris Burandt and world record snowmobile
jumper Paul Thacker were over there for three weeks as stunt riders
for the film. "It's insane," said Thacker. "Me and Burandt are doing the entire sequence
for the snowmobile scene. Cliff drops, back flips, BIG air -- running through fire bombs.
You wouldn't believe it."
(set photos from "Slednecks" and "Monster Energy")
According to Swedish Kiruna local news, a scooter accident happened last
Saturday during the filming at Vassijaure. A man broke his leg and
he was taken to Gallivare hospital by helicopter. There is
no detailed information about the injured person but the source said
he's recovering well.
- It seems that uncooperative weather and problem with set construction were not the only
problems with the Babylon A.D. production. There have been reports from French
and Czech media that they also had problems with actor Vin Diesel, who reportedly refused
to work in the morning. Sources told the
New York Post
that "Diesel shows up late all the time, sometimes two hours late..." and described the
director as "temperamental" and even said he was rumored to have had a breakdown.
In February, Fox actually sent someone to Prague to try to sort things out...
An official at Film Finances Inc., which provided the completion bond for Babylon A.D.,
confirmed, "It has been a difficult shoot for everybody." The production is expected
to wrap in about three weeks.
- Our always cool Michelle brought her 3 year old nephew to Prague. Earlier this month,
she was seen in a shop in Prague, with the boy and nanny, buying a bike for him.
Some paparazzi even mistook her nephew as her son! She had him with her for three
weeks and between shooting days, she also managed to travel to Hong Kong, France,
Italy and Switzerland during the past month (some of the public events were reported
Michelle is expected to be in Sweden this week.
U.K. graphic designer James Lemanski
worked as a model maker for Babylon A.D.. Below are photos of
some of the set models he made for the film, using materials ranging from foam core to steel.
(thanks Brenda of UVDFC)
This is a shot of the submarine used for Babylon A.D. filming.
The submarine scenes were filmed between February 13 and 20 at the
Barrandov Studios, some with up to 150 extras. For the past two weeks
they have been shooting action sequences involving gunfire, bikers, cars,
extras and stunts... at an amazingly decorated "Brooklyn Square"
during night filming.
(Many thanks to Gooleem for sharing the photo and information!)
On the Babylon AD from inside
blog, a new post gave us some updates of the production.
"On Monday we finished one of the biggest scenes of the film in a fake
NY square entirely built at Barandov in Prague. Major explosions, Vin,
Michelle and Melanie fighting their way through gun shots... very impressive!"
They are also filming a scene of Vin Diesel's character with French
actor Lambert Wilson and David Belle, the parkour master.
In the meantime, the second unit has started filming some action sequences
in northern Sweden. The main cast will be flying there for three days next week.
Production is expected to continue for four more weeks.
According to Swedish and Norwegian news, Babylon A.D. will be filming
in Kiruna, the northernmost Swedish municipality, for the next 2 -3 weeks.
Filming locations include areas between Riksgransen and Kiruna city. A scene
which was originally planned to be shot at a frozen lake in Slovakia will be
filmed at Tornetrask Lake, Kiruna. [updated 04/17]
Norwegian news said some filming will take place in areas between Kiruna of
Sweden and Narvik of Norway.
Swedish media reported that Babylon A.D. is filming at Riksgransen, a ski-resort in
northern Sweden, which is approximately 300 kilometers from the North Pole and has skiing
season from February to June.
Two weeks ago I was tipped off by "Movieknower" from Sweden that
Babylon A.D. was setting camp in northern parts of Sweden
for some snow scenes. Yesterday
reported that slednecks stunt men Chris Burandt and Paul Thacker are
in Sweden right now doing stunt work for the film.
(thanks UVDFC for the link)
Futuristic vehicles from French Lazareth
will be featured in the film.
(thanks Silke of VinXperience)
- Production of Babylon A.D. continued in Prague. There have been advertisements for extras of different
nationalities for filming in March and April. Apparently the interruption of the production in
February and the beginning of March has caused production delays. They won't be
able to finish in the middle of April as scheduled, and reportedly filming will last until May.
- Some photos:
(1) Underwater filming at the Barrandov Studio, February 19 - 22 (35mm film).
The underwater team for Babylon A.D. includes Roland Savoye (underwater cinematographer),
Michel Revest (1st assistant), and Pascal Morisset (lighting assistant).
(photo from Underwater Pictures)
(2)(3) "Google3D", a concept for future 3D search technology designed by Singaporean industrial designer
Pei Kang Ng, will be featured in Babylon A.D..
On the 28th in Prague, Michelle accepted a phone interview
with Taiwanese reporters as a part of the promotion for her
new film, Sunshine, which
is being released next week. After shooting four non-action films in
a row, Michelle is very happy to return as an action heroine in
Babylon A.D.. She said she truly enjoyed filming of action
scenes for the film. "It is a joy." In one scene, she is fighting
with eight men in the air.
"This film will set new standards for action movies," said director Mathieu Kassovitz
- French actor/stuntman Nicky Naude told "Courier Press" last week that he's
working on Babylon A.D.. He said he will soon be in Prague for
three weeks. "I'll give a hand for a stunt and probably have a small part."
- According to "ABC Prague" and a press release from the Barrandov Studios,
scenes shot in the studio include an emerging submarine in an icy ocean.
The 20 meter long partial submarine was made of steel with laminated
surface, and the ice were made of polystyrene and wood. They built
the interior of the submarine, the interior of a train and an armour
transporter at Stage No. 10 and an apartment at Stage No. 5.
Other sets built at the studios also include a replica of Brooklyn Square,
markets, as well as a railway station.
a Czech company specialized in hospital equipment, provided a multicare hospital
bed which was modified for the filming for Babylon A.D.. The bed
was transported to the Barrandov Studios at the beginning of the month.
Apparently they did not go to Ostrava last Friday as previously scheduled.
Michelle was in Australia over the weekend and Hong Kong today.
The latest news is that the filming team is arriving Ostrava today.
I'm not sure if they really went... at least Michelle
was not there (more details see News).
There have been some problems with the production, according to
including uncooperative weather and problems with set construction which caused the
production designer to ankle; a stunt coordinator and the first assistant director
were replaced as well. They had to spend two weeks to "sort things out" and now
shooting has been resumed. Michelle, Vin Diesel and Melanie Thierry will all be
in Ostrava where they are going to shoot for another week.
The production still needs to find a location with snow for footage that will take
six to eight days to shoot. Their Iceland scouting turned out fruitless. Some actors
including Charlotte Rampling are still awaiting word of when their presence will be
needed for scenes which were supposed to have been shot at the end of last month.
They are also having pressure from the Barrandov Studios to vacate soundstages for other
Michelle and Vin Diesel will be in Ostrava again this Friday and
they will stay there for a week.
An official image ("MNP Enterprise"):
According to a newsletter from Barrandov Studios,
the Babylon A.D. project was shot last December
on Stage No. 5, and was relocated to one of the three new MAX studios,
specifically Stage No. 10, since January 2. OKKO Productions,
which is in charge of the Czech production tasks, is also using
the services of the Costumes and Props Department (200 full costumes),
the film laboratories, and the set department. The production company
plans to build enormous interior and exterior sets at Barrandov,
including a replica of Brooklyn Square and a scene of a submarine
emerging from the ocean depths to be shot in one of Barrandov's pools.
"Iceland Review" reported that producers of Babylon A.D. are
currently looking into the possibility of shooting some snow scenes
Michelle took a break from the Babylon A.D. filming and she
was in Italy last week (some photos are in News).
an Ostrava based company, provided neon signs for the film. Photos
below show some of the signs made for the film. Interestingly, asides
from Russian ones there are also neon signs in Chinese.
- On Feb. 10, Swiss magazine "Züendstoff" published an interview
(in Gernam) with Steven Käser, a 22 year old Swiss stuntman,
who talked about his experience on Babylon A.D.. Käser
said the shooting can be very exhausting and involve long hours.
For ten seconds of the film it may take twelve to fourteen hours
to shoot. Asked about his impression of Vin Diesel, he said Diesel
is a charismatic actor. They did not see him all that often but met with
his doubles more often on set. Käser also mentioned that Michelle
has very good relationship with crew and they even went for dinner
with her and Mr. Jean Todt.
Käser is currently on a break and will return to the Czech shooting
at the end of February to film his last scenes.
The film will feature parkour
scenes choreographed by David Belle, the founder of this sport. A team
of 10 traceurs are hired for some chase scenes.
- Michelle stayed at Mandarin Oriental Prague during the Prague filming.
- While we are still waiting for new photos, I'm putting up some old photos
from the day of the Ostrava-Poruba filming.
(more photos can be seen at Vin Diesel forums:
listed the release date for Babylon A.D. as February 29, 2008.
Filming of Babylon A.D. has been continuing in the Prague area.
They are currently shooting at the Barrandov Studios. According to
"Variety", the film will wrap in April and is slated for release
Some more photos from the Ostrava-Poruba filming can been seen
on the UVDFC forum.
Not high resolution but quite a few have Michelle.
Several Czech newspapers published an interview with Ivo Hanzlik, one of
the locals who joined Ostrava filming of Babylon A.D. last month.
They filmed some fugitive camp scenes at the Vitkovice Ironworks where
people in cages were fighting for the chance to get to the west. Hanzlik
said they were usually at the location at 1pm and waited until sunset to
start shooting. They even worked 14 hours in one day. Hanzlik had chance to be very
close to the stars and he praised Michelle's fighting skills.
On the right is a photo of an outdoor set currently being built at the Barrandov
Studios in Prague, which will be blown up later in the filming. They
are also building indoor sets including a subway train, a catering area, etc..
More photos of Michelle, Vin Diesel, Melanie Thierry, and
some shots of the Hlavni trida from the Ostrava-Poruba filming
On the Babylon AD from inside,
it published a photo from Babylon A.D. and
Guyom, who is from the production team, made a post.
The photo was a raining scene filmed on December 12th in Prague.
On the night of Thursday, January 25th, they filmed a fight
scene with Michelle at the Vitkovice steel factory in Ostrava.
In the scene Michelle battles with some "bad guys" in a Russian bar,
Special thanks to Pavel,
who visited the set that night, for sharing this piece of information
with us! Pavel met Michelle during the film break.
"She was very pleasant and friendly," he said. "She was excellent
in her fight and very professional."
Filming in Ostrava ended last weekend and they are back to Prague.
According to a source from the production team, besides in the Czech Republic,
another possible filming location is a frozen lake in Slovakia,
depending on the weather conditions.
This is another photo from the Ostrava-Poruba filming on Jan. 14:
Michelle (middle), Melanie Thierry (right), and Vin Diesel.
On the 19th, casting calls for extras in Brno attracted hundreds of
people, young and old, and they waited for more than an hour and half
to have their pictures taken. The production team was looking for
people ranging from 5 to 70 years old for some crowd scenes which
will be shot at the Brno Turany Airport next month.
Here you can see some photos of the casting
( 123 )
and a photo gallery
of the airport construction.
They have been filming at the
Ironworks and also at the skeleton of a building
located by the Culture House. Michelle has been staying at the
Hotel Imperial of Ostrava, as has Vin Diesel.
Not high quality, but this
shows Michelle walking with the film team in Ostrava-Poruba on
of the Poruba filming on the 14th. At one part (about 00:52)
we can actually see on the backseat of the car there were not only
Michelle's double but also Melanie Thierry's character (double?).
(thanks slevin.k of VinXperience Forum for the video link)
On Sunday the 14th, Hlavni trida in Ostrava-Poruba was turned into a Russian
neighborhood. Signs on the shops were changed into Russian ones (for some
Czechs it may remind them of their communist history when the
Russian language was obligatory at schools).
A car scene was filmed there, involving some youngsters
throwing dirt and stones at an old Russian Cajka in which sat the characters
of Vin Diesel and Michelle. Over three hours, the sequence was tried
out eight times with the doubles before the real shot. Hundreds of
curious locals watched the filming. Vin Diesel was seen by many but
most people did not spot Michelle.
(thanks Klara for the help with translation!)
Michelle (right), Melanie Thierry (middle), and Vin Diesel in Ostrava
doubles of Michelle and Vin in the car
Vin Diesel (right) and his double
youngsters throwing dirt and stones at the car
helicopter at the middle of the town
putting Russian signs
from "Idnes", "CTK", "SIP", "AutoHifiClub", "Denik" and "Super")
The Czech Q-Agency published an advertisement
saying extras are needed for Babylon A.D. in early February in
the second largest city of the Czech Republic.
Czech newspapers reported that there will be a helicopter crash scene
shot in the Poruba
district of Ostrava this weekend. "In the middle of
a roundabout there will be decorations of a crashed helicopter with
artificial smoke and other special effects," said an assistant of
the district mayor. Production companies will pay 400,000 CZK
(approx. US$18,600) to the city for filming in this part of the city.
Next week production will move to the historical industrial area of
Ironworks. Filmmakers would like to use the
industrial atmosphere of the environment. It will be mostly night scenes,
which will be muddy and dirty. A few extras have been chosen locally. Also
several not well-known Czech actors will play some small roles in
the film. Filming is expected to last about two weeks in
(thanks Klara for translation!)
According to official news from Prague's Barrandov Studio,
Babylon A.D. will be the first project filmed at their new stage
complex, which is the largest soundproof sound stage in Europe,
starting early this month.
Filming will also take place in Poruba, the most popular residential
district in Ostrava which is the third largest city in the Czech Republic and
the administrative center of the Moravian-Silesian Region. Road closures
from the 12th to 14th of January has been announced
translation can be found at the
Sets built at the site will be removed on the 15th and the area will be re-opened.
When Michelle visited the Pagoh flood relief centre in Malaysia on
December 30th (details in News), she
mentioned that she would fly to the Czech Republic on that evening for the
filming of Babylon A.D..
published on Dec. 14th a round of set photos (many thanks to Brenda of
for sharing the information!) with Vin Diesel. They were filming at Milovice, a
small town 40 kilometers outside of Prague. Bob Brown is the stunt
coordinator. Robert Lahoda, a stuntman from the Czech Republic, is on the project.
Michelle was not involved in the first week of the shooting. She has
been in China filming
Children of Huang Shi.
Reportedly the production of Babylon A.D. will last until April 11.
One of the shooting locations for Babylon A.D. is Prague's
Barrandov Studios, who just opened today their new $4.7 million sound stage,
which is the largest soundproof sound stage in Europe.
Director Mathieu Kassovitz's website
confirmed filming of Babylon A.D. will start on December 11 in Eastern Europe.
Also the website shows that the name of Michelle's character is "Sister Rebecca"
instead of "Sister Helen" as previously reported by French media, and the name
of Melanie Thierry's character is "Aurora".
reported that Vin Diesel jetted off to Prague today for the film
which is set to be a major 2007 holiday release.
The rehearsals in Paris finished at the end of last month. Both Michelle and
Vin Diesel have left Paris.
Nicole of the German site
shared this piece of information with us (thanks!)
- on November 3rd they heard from a person on the production team that
filming will be starting on December 11 in Prague. So unless there have been
some changes of plans in the past month, we can expect December 11 to be a valid date.
Michelle is now in Paris doing rehearsals for Babylon A.D..
Last month when Michelle talked to Norwegian media in FilmCamp, Malselv, Norway
about Far North, she mentioned
Babylon A.D. will feature some big winter scenes, for
which FilmCamp and Slovakia could be choices for the filming locations.
To be directed by French director Mathieu Kassovitz, Babylon A.D.
will star Michelle and Vin Diesel. Inspired by the futuristic French novel
"Babylon Babies" by Maurice Dantec, the tale is set in the near future
where genetic manipulation occurs. In the book, in a world which is torn
apart by wars, the mafia and the sects, a veteran-turned-mercenary is hired
by a mysterious source to escort a young woman from Russia to Canada and
learns that the woman has been manipulated by a synthetic virus and what
lies inside her could doom the human race.
Director Mathieu Kassovitz spent several years writing the script. The
film project was first announced in 2002. In summer 2005, 20th Century Fox
and Canal Plus reached a deal to co-finance Babylon A.D.,
the big-budget futuristic thriller whose budget could reach $70 million.
Michelle will play a nun who must protect
a girl who might have been injected with a deadly virus. (Note: the said
nun character does not exist in the novel.)
Reportedly Diesel will play the mercenary Thoorop. The adventure goes
"across war-torn Eastern Europe to a slightly surreal New York 20 years in the future...
in a close future dominated by mafias, media and technology,"
quoting a co-producer and the director.
The production date has been pushed back several times. Currently some Czech
websites listed the production is scheduled to begin on December 11 in Prague,
the picturesque capital of the Czech Republic. But some other sources indicate
the production may not start until 2007.
According to "Cineuropa", the film has already been pre-sold by Legende/MNP
Enterprise production to territories including Germany, Spain, Greece,
Portugal, Scandinavia, Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey.
20th Century Fox is handling distributions for the U.S., the U.K. and Asia. Italy is
handled by StudioCanal.
P.S. During the past few years, the names of the following actors/actresses
have been associated with this project at one time or another: Vincent Cassel,
Monica Belluci, Andre Dussolier.