With the 10th Anniversary of ‘Attack of the Clones‘ coming up on May 16th (not to mention that today is unofficially Star Wars Day!) and hot on the heels of March’s ‘Phantom Menace‘ filming locations compilation comes the Italian, Spanish and Tunisian scenes from the second of the prequel films. I was fairly underwhelmed when I first saw it a decade ago but as the years have rolled by and with the saga more complete I have been able to watch and enjoy it a whole lot more and this of course was heightened by my visits to the various locations used.
DVD chapter 15 ‘Return to Naboo’ on 38 mins sees Anakin and Padmé along with Artoo at the Plaza de Espana in Seville (below) for a fairly short scene which was cut down in the edit as the extended arrival on Naboo deleted scene appears on the dvd.
Caserta Palace (below left) in Southern Italy makes a brief return for this movie after 39 mins and the rest of the Naboo scenes which follow were all shot in Como in the north of the country. We first see the splendid Villa del Balbianello from the lake (below right) on 44 mins albeit with CGI domes added to the roof. Sadly I didn’t get to take a photo of the place from quite the same angle as I never took a boat to that part of the lake.
Anakin and Padmé arrive by boat at the lake retreat (below) on the latter’s home planet of Naboo which was a different place to where I arrived and this scene could not be perfectly re-created as it was shot from the stone wall which isn’t accessible to the public. I had to take my pictures of the boat dock and steps leading down to it from different angles.
After climbing the steps (off camera) we then see the pair of them walk along a terrace with a pond in the foreground (below left) and a bush (below right) in the background.
They walk over to the balcony overlooking the lake. Notice the strange shape trunk on the right of the photo below left. This balcony is where the two heroes kiss for the first time (below right) although Padmé later pulls away as their love is forbidden.
The picknic meadow where Anakin and Padmé get closer (47-50 mins into the film) was filmed in a couple of private fields in Como which could be anywhere in the world to be fair! The waterfalls and the shaaks (indigenous Naboo animals) were added by CGI of course and this field can only really be recognised thanks to some behind the scenes pictures in the ‘Star Wars 365 Days’ book by John Knoll. By that I mean the shabby building in the lower left photo.
The loggia (below left) at Villa del Balbianello, which also appeared in ‘Casino Royale’, features on 59 mins though only the area under the arches is seen beginning with Anakin in a Jedi trance looking out across the lake early in the morning following his nightmare.
The sunlight made the photo above right hard to re-create but typically I didn’t think about closing the door until later that same evening. “Jedi don’t have nightmares” is what Anakin tells Padmé at the loggia but she says that she heard him and then he explains that he saw his mother in pain in his dreams and that he must return to Tatooine to try and save her.
So its back to Tunisia on 64 mins and the Mos Espa set near Tozeur is used again as Anakin is re-united with Watto at the workshop (below left) where he was a former slave.
The Lars Homestead (above) is in Matmata (south east Tunisia) and returns to our screens for the first time since 1977 with Anakin and Padmé meeting Lars Clieg in the courtyard as they search for Anakin’s mother Shmi Skywalker. They then sit around the famous table in the dining room (below left) where Luke had some blue milk with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru in the original Star Wars movie. The exterior of the Lars Homestead (below right) is actually many many kilometres away in the middle of nowhere in Chott el Djerid, Nefta. It can be seen on 71, 74 and 83 mins.
‘Attack of the Clones‘ draws to a close on 124 mins with the secret wedding of Anakin and Padmé at the Naboo lake retreat known as Villa del Balbianello in Como. The flowers seen on screen (below left) were far brighter and in much better condition than when I was there. Droids C3P0 and R2D2 were in attendance for the wedding (below right) whereas I only had R2D2 with me!
Deleted Scenes: Firstly, we will look at deleted scene #4 from the dvd which was an extended arrival on Naboo where we see a bit more of the Plaza de Espana below.
Parco Civico di Tremezzo in Como is where Anakin and Padmé leaving Naboo for Tatooine following the former’s nightmare about his mother being in pain back on his home planet. That’s one train of thought anyway due to the clothes they are wearing but the very chunky ‘Star Wars 365 Days’ book by John Knoll suggests that their spaceship landed near here and then they got into a gondola and sped across the lake to the Villa del Balbianello. It appears that their clothes have changed there whereas they are the same on arrival in Tatooine as they are in the photo above left. I had to get into the water with my camera early morning to recreate the shot (above right) which wasn’t easy as it was deep and swimming out for 10 metres or so while holding a camera up in the air out of the water is blo*dy difficult!! All that effort for a cut scene which didn’t even make it on to the deleted scenes chapter of the DVD!!
Above left is how the park looks at the top of the steps and the rectangular sign seen in the screenshot as well as the male toilets (below left) where Hayden Christensen (Anakin) got changed into his brown Jedi robe without complaint. Natalie Portman (Padmé) is a much bigger star and supposedly demanded something better so the crew cleared out a little domed building (below right) nearby.
Deleted scene #5 is of Padmé‘s parents house and after arriving at the place and having dinner we see Padmé‘ talking to her mum and sister whilst supposedly looking out of the kitchen window into the garden where Anakin is being questioned by Padmé‘s father about his intentions. This shot was done using a platform, fake window and window sill and in reality is just the garden out the back of the ticket office and bookshop at Villa del Balbianello in Como, Italy.
Another scene to end upon the cutting room floor (deleted scene #6) starts with a view of the villa shot from below in the garden (above right) although as you can see CGI magic makes the two look quite different. The deleted bedroom scene (no, not a sex scene!) was shot in one of the loggia rooms (below) although they basically stripped it of its period furniture and imported a rug, bed and so on to make it more Naboo-like.