Stadium to be transformed into 'British countryside'

LONDON — Filmmaker Danny Boyle has unveiled details of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, which will see the Olympic Stadium transformed into an idealized version of the British countryside.

A pastoral scene, complete with farm animals and recreations of British landmarks like Glastonbury Tor in the West of England, will greet spectators when they arrive at the ceremony on July 27.

Boyle, artistic director for the curtain raiser, said the opening scene of the £27 million ($42 million) extravaganza will be called “Green and Pleasant” and would create “a picture of ourselves as a nation.”

He said the three-hour show was inspired by Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” and would be about a land recovering from its industrial legacy.

“The best way to tell that story is through working with real people,” Boyle told the BBC as he explained that nurses from Blighty’s National Health Service would be among the 10,000 volunteers involved in the ceremony.

There have already been 157 cast rehearsals for the ceremony, which will include 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese, 70 sheep and three sheep dogs in the performance, organizers reported.

It was confirmed that the BBC’s drama department will make two short films for the ceremony.

Roger Mosey, the BBC’s director of London 2012, said: “Danny Boyle will be using film and other media to supplement the action in the stadium and pretty much the first thing viewers globally will see is a piece of film made by BBC Drama.”

He added: “The BBC will be involved in the ceremony in other supporting roles too because as the national broadcaster we think it’s right that we should support the U.K.’s representation of itself — and, quite simply, we want this to be a great program for British viewers to watch along with the rest of the world.”

Mosey said that “getting on for three-quarters of the world’s population” — more than one billion people — would see something of the ceremony in news bulletins and subsequent replays of the key moments.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more