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Supernova filmed in the Lake District

Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth in Supernova filmed in the Lake District
Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth in the film Supernova | © Studiocanal SAS

Supernova is a 2020 British romantic drama film following the story of couple Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) who embark on a journey across England as they deal with Tusker’s young-onset dementia. Read about the experiences of filming at Crummock Water and other Lake District locations in our interview with writer and director Harry Macqueen.

The story of Supernova

Supernova follows Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), who have been a couple for 20 years, as they deal with the challenges of Tusker’s diagnosis with young-onset dementia.

They take a campervan trip across England to the Lake District, visiting friends, family, and places from their past. Two years after Tusker’s diagnosis, time together is the most important thing they have. But as the trip progresses, their individual ideas for their future begin to collide.

Filming in the Lake District

While the heart of the film is the emotional journey of Sam and Tusker’s relationship, Supernova also draws deep significance from their physical journey through the raw and dramatic landscapes of the Lakes.

Supernova was filmed at several Lake District locations, including land the National Trust cares for at Crummock Water.

‘Every time I go to the Lakes, I’m in awe of its variety and its vastness,’ said the film’s writer and director, Harry Macqueen. ‘It seems to be an almost constantly shifting landscape, so easily moulded by weather and light. No day feels the same.’

Crummock Water in the Lake District was used as a filming location for Supernova
Crummock Water in the Lake District was used as a filming location for Supernova | © Studiocanal SAS

‘When I had decided that Sam and Tusker’s story was one that would unfold on the road, it seemed like the perfect place to take it,’ Harry added.

‘I wanted to utilise the beauty and the drama of the landscape to underscore the narrative, and investigate how the characters responded to it too. It’s an awe-inspiring place but also a brutal and unforgiving one, which is fitting for this kind of story.’

Crummock Water as a filming location

The landscape of Crummock Water became one of the important places from Sam and Tusker’s past that they revisit during their road trip.

‘Crummock Water represents a place that reminds Sam and Tusker of the beauty and longevity of their love for one another,’ Harry explained. ‘The landscape gave us both a dramatically beautiful view and, crucially, a certain calmness.’

The inspiration behind Supernova

With more than 850,000* people in the UK living with dementia, the struggles that Sam and Tusker face are ones that will resonate with many.

The original inspiration for Supernova came from Harry’s personal experiences. ‘After having spent time with someone who was living with, and then died from, a type of young-onset dementia, I decided to try and learn more about it,’ he said.

Harry Macqueen talking to actor Colin Firth during filming of Supernova set in the Lake District
Harry Macqueen talking to actor Colin Firth during filming of Supernova | © Studiocanal SAS

‘I spent over two years volunteering for several charities and the Dementia Research Centre at University College London, and during that time I met many families who were living with dementia in varying forms,’ Harry explained.

‘I spent a lot of time with several of them over a long (and ongoing) period, which has been a profoundly moving experience in so many ways. It was these people and their stories that inspired Supernova.’

The power of nature

The importance of the natural landscapes in Supernova reflects the impact nature can have on everyday life. For many, having a connection to the outdoors and access to green spaces is a vital source of comfort, rejuvenation, and inspiration.

‘I grew up in inner city Leicester so getting out of the city was always a big part of our family holidays,’ said Harry. ‘My dad adored nature and taught me a huge amount about all things flora and fauna. It’s a huge part of why my films tend to take characters out of urban environments and into nature – echoing the sense of freedom and release I feel when I leave town.’

It always felt to me that placing Sam and Tusker in this wild, bucolic landscape surrounded by all the wildlife, forests and mountains that go with it was fitting because of this innate sense of emotional and physical freedom. There’s no doubt that spending time in nature is a wonderful, inspiring thing.

A quote by Harry Macqueen Writer and Director, Supernova

Watch the trailer

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Supernova official trailer

Find out about Sam and Tusker's story in Supernova, starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci

Supporting special places

As well as showing off beautiful locations, filming directly benefits the places in our care that star in the production. The income from location fees goes straight back into conservation work to care for historic houses and landscapes, so that we’ll all be able to see them both on screen and in real life for years to come.

*Statistics courtesy of the Alzheimer's Society. For support, information, and advice about dementia, visit the Alzheimer’s Society website.

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