Big blue skies, historic sites and gorgeous panoramas feature in stylish thriller The Two Faces of January released on DVD this month. Starring Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen it’s entirely set on location in Crete, Athens and Istanbul.
Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel, the movie follows a man and his wife (played by Mortensen and Dunst) in the ‘60s, on a trip to Europe, they meet a stranger (Oscar Isaac), get caught up in a murder, and have to find a way out of the country without getting caught.
The movie’s crew was given unprecedented access to historic sites in the region. “If you find the right locations all you have to do is point the camera,” explains movie producer Tim Bevan. This technique created “oodles of production value”, he says.
“You couldn’t have done it anywhere else and had it look as good,” says Viggo Mortensen, who plays husband Chester MacFarland in the movie. Kirsten Dunst, wife Collete MacFarland in the movie, agrees. “It was incredible to be able to shoot in the places that we did.”
See below to for the real life locations to visit from scenes in Two Faces of January…
Acropolis, Athens, Greece
“It was so exciting and such a neat thing to be able to film inside the Parthenon,” says Oscar Isaac, who was impressed that Two Faces of January got to film in this sacred site. This was the first time in more than 20 years that a movie was allowed access to shoot here. “It was incredible to shoot in the Acropolis,” says Dunst. Approximately three million visitors a year come to take in the sights like the characters in the movie, who wander around the magnificent structures dating back to the Athenian Empire in 447 BC.
Crete’s second largest city and picturesque Venetian Old Port, on the island’s north coast, were used during filming. The island also boasts 600 miles of pristine coastline and has a mythical past. The Greek god of sky, Zeus, was supposedly born here in a cave on Mount Ida. “The landscapes of Crete we quite surprising,” says production designer Michael Carlin, “and much more epic than I had imagined.”
Knossos, Crete, Greece
The production began filming at the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on the island on their first day. “Our first day was in the ruins,” says Oscar Isaac. “We often said ‘we are so lucky’ look where we are,” revealed Viggo Mortensen. Part of the palace of Knossos still remains, once the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilization, it can still be visited today.
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
This wonderful, busy ottoman structure includes 61 covered streets and, on a normal day, more than 3,000 shops. However, the Two Faces of January team snuck in when it was eerily quiet. “There was a Turkish national holiday, so we had the whole place to ourselves for two days,” says writer and director Hossein Amini. “We got to just roam around the giant bazaar,” reveals Oscar Isaac.
The Two Faces of January is released on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD on September 15.