Tessa Alvarado The Queen of Swords Anthony De Longis

Behind The Scenes And on The Set With Anthony De Longis


Hello from the road again. I completed filming Broadsword for the Stage and Screen: the De Longis Method last weekend. It was a good shoot with Ed Douglas again directing and Bob Chapin, Dave Baker and Mary Gallien providing their talented assistance. I'll complete the edit after the holidays and it should be ready by the end of January. I'm very proud of the work and I think you'll find our efforts informative and entertaining.

As soon as we wrapped, we immediately loaded up the car for the drive up the coast from Los Angeles to Vancouver. It's been a long time since I made this drive and I was again struck by the beauty and grandeur of the Pacific northwest. My new Canadian agents were anxious for me to arrive and the auditions have already started. I'll keep you posted.

I'm looking forward to seeing my friends Braun Mc Ash and Alex Green and experiencing new adventures in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Vancouver. I'll also hope to watch the editors at work on Ariana's Quest and see some of the footage from my work in Prague. This has been a year of extensive travel for me and I love the experiences that a life on the road brings with it. But it does play havoc with plans and schedules. Thank you for your patience. Here, at last, is my commentary for the first episode filmed on The Queen of Swords - "Death to the Queen."



Tessie Santiago - Tessa Alvarado / The Queen of Swords
Paulina Galvez - Marta
Valentine Pelka - Colonel Luis Montoya
Peter Wingfield - Dr. Helm
Anthony Lemke - Captain Marcus Grisham
Elsa Pataky - Senora Vera Hidalgo
Tacho Gonzales- Don Gaspar Hidalgo
Javier Lago - Sergeant Alonzo
Christina Segovia- Louisa
Lucas Fuica -Torlio
Luis Miguel Arranz - Arnaldo
Chencho Losando- Pedro


the morning view of our backyard in Sierra Cabrera Photo at left: the first-morning view from our home in Sierra Cabrera.

The Adventure Begins

This episode will always have special memories because it was literally where it all began. On April 20th, having been back from Australia for only 2 days, Mary, Marley and I left for Almeria, finally arriving at our new home the next day, Good Friday at 11:30 pm after a grueling endurance flight. I think this put us through every time zone on the globe within a period of 4 days. Our house was a jewel at the top of British enclave called Sierra Cabrera. When we woke up the first morning and looked out the window we couldn't believe how beautiful the view was from our summit vantage point. Behind us and all around us were the crests of the mountains. Below us, a narrow road wound to the valley floor, with its golf course, horse ranch, dry riverbed ravines and clusters of private ranch style homes with their beautiful gardens a lush contrast to the dry gypsum rock formations.

Sunset from Casa Astede Photo at right: one of the many spectacular sunsets.

Throughout the day, the light would paint the hills and valleys different hues and colors so the scene never failed to dazzle. The view extended over ridges and valleys all the way to the ocean. At night the lights from the surrounding villages and towns dotted the distant hills like fireflies but the real light show was in the heavens. Stars filled the sky and the familiar constellations came out to welcome us. Scorpio rose nightly just behind and above our house.

The Bowling Green at Sierra Cabrera Photo at left - Saturday mornings were busy times on the bowling lawn near home. Most of Sierra Cabrera's denizens were British vacationers, retirees and expatriates, and the beautiful weather there let the season extend well beyond that in England.

That first Saturday morning we were treated to the sight of the British Lawn Bowling Club in their spotless whites skillfully putting "English" on the balls they rolled with amazing accuracy across the wide expanse of cultivated lawns at the foot of the castle behind our house. We became quite good friends with several of the couples, spending much of our brief leisure time as guests for dinner and delightful conversation. We made some lovely new friendships and discovered a lot about our neighbors and the fascinating countryside surrounding us. For a time, Tessie, Peter and Valentine lived below us in the beautiful private houses alongside the golf course before they moved to the bustle of the beach town of Agua Dulce. We savored our solitude and wouldn't have changed our home for the world.

Marley in Anthony's trunk Photo at right: after being left home the first day, Marley wasn't about to let Anthony leave her at home again. As soon as the car trunk opened, she hopped right in before he could even load swords.

The Challenges of the Preparation

I hit the ground running Monday morning when I followed Ken Gord on what he referred to as the "Zen" drive along the narrow, winding country roads from our mountain top aerie above Turre into Tabernas and "Texas Hollywood." This was the first and only day I went to the set alone. From the second day forward Mary and Marley were always with me. Mary proved to be an invaluable assistant and helped me to train every actor and stunt performer that appeared in the show. Marley's "happy-dog dance" of greeting became quite popular with both cast and crew. Before long both Anthony Lemke and Paulina Galvez were bringing their canine companions to work to brighten up their own long days on the set.

The first day at the office I met all the department heads and the enormity of the challenge we all faced made itself apparent. We were creating a new show from the ground up and we all had to start working as a creative unit ASAP. I met my new partner and co-coordinator, Ricardo Cruz and the members of his team and immediately started rehearsing and scouting locations. Ricardo, Mary and I had to teach the soldiers, train the actors and try out our ideas for action in order to be ready to go before cameras in less than a week.

I met with Tessie's horse and sword double, Natalia Guijarro, and with the help of Ricardo to translate, began her sword training. Fortunately, I've been teaching swordplay to actors professionally since 1973. I scrambled and quickly learned the Spanish vocabulary for the key body parts and the active verbs necessary to get my message across. This basic but growing vocabulary held me in good stead to teach the rest of Ricardo's stunt team in the weeks to come.

In spite of her work ethic and effort, it was clear to me after two days that Natalia didn't have the experience with the sword to be ready to step in front of cameras as a sword double for our star the following week. On Wednesday I made my assessment known to Ken Gord and David Abramowitz and it was decided to bring in Roberta Brown as sword double for Tessie and sword trainer for Natalia until Natalia could be made ready to go in front of camera herself. As David said, "Roberta will train herself out of a job." Natalia was such a good horse riding and camera double for Tessie that the producers were anxious to have her do as much as possible as soon as possible.


On to Page Two of "Death to The Queen"

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Copyright 2000 Anthony De Longis. All contents, unless otherwise noted, are the property of Anthony De Longis or used with permission of the copyright owner. All text and photos herein may not be reproduced or distributed without the express written consent of Anthony De Longis, his official representative, or the copyright owner.

The Queen of Swords is trademark of Fireworks Productions, Toronto, Canada, and is a production of Fireworks (Canada), Amy Productions (UK), Morena Films (Spain) and M6 (France), and is distributed in the United States by Paramount. The Official Queen of Swords Website can be found at


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This page last updated November 24, 2000