Tessa Alvarado The Queen of Swords Anthony De Longis

Behind The Scenes And on The Set With Anthony De Longis


Working in Paradise aka Sierra Alhamilla

As promised, Gaelle brought Philippe and Olivier back from Paris where they were finishing a movie together. Gaelle started the episode, returned to Paris to finish her film and flew in the night before her big fight with Antonio. I was supervising a second unit shot of Natalia unhorsing two soldiers with her whip from horseback. I rehearsed the French fighters in the dry riverbed before returning to the house with Mary and Gaelle to rehearse the fight with Antonio where the Queen is unmasked. We were shooting the scene first thing in the morning and had to grab what rehearsal we could get.

The view from Sierra Alhamilla Photo at left - The resort of Sierra Alhamilla was chosen as the location for both the teaser fight (Antonio against Grisham and the soldiers) and the flashback alley duel. The spa there is famous for its mineral baths - the waters come out of the earth at 140 degrees fahrenheit.

The finished episode opens with a duel between Grisham and Antonio. Valentine Pelka plays the taunting Montoya to a tee, getting full misery from his Captain and needling Grisham until he's ready to kill. Antonio takes it all in stride and even enjoys toying with his opponent. We had a sword shortage so I redressed Montoya's small sword from "Vengeance" as Antonio's dueling weapon of choice. Pitted against Grisham's slashing saber it offered finesse versus power and fury.

After Montoya's jibe, "There's no need to be embarassed, Grisham, it's just us out here," Grisham launches a suprise attack. Antonio avoids his charge like a skilled matador, swatting the Grisham on the butt with the flat of his blade

Chencho as a soldier At right: Chencho dressed as a soldier. Chencho's presence became a running joke during filming - in every one of the first 6 episodes, he is punched, pummelled or stabbed.

"Now give someone else a chance." Montoya signals three soldiers into the fray. I doubled Christian for this sequence disarming Chencho and planting his sword in the ground to be used later. We were filming at the top of a local mountain near a natural spring that housed mineral baths dating to Roman times. The ground was rocky and very hard and planting the sword after punching Chencho without losing the flow of the action was tricky. Chencho's flying reaction was up to his usual standards. It's just not a Queen of Swords episode unless Chencho gets clobbered.

Anthony and Christian on patio Photo at left: Christian worked hard with Anthony, who also doubled for the actor in the swordfight and the horse grab gag.

In the next sequence, Antonio takes on the two soldiers simultaneously, outfighting then disarming each in turn. Christian de la Fuente was a fine athlete and a diligent worker. He's an officer and a pilot in the Chilean Air Force so he's no stranger to discipline. He rehearsed whenever he had time between scenes and on the weekend drove up the mountain to our house to continue his training. Fortunately, two of his three fights were scheduled to shoot towards the end of the episode. For the show's opening sequence, Christian learned and performed all his action with Anthony Lemke. I doubled when it was time for Anthony's coverage so Anthony could really go for it, but a substantial portion of the final footage is Christian. His hard work paid off onscreen.

Antonio takes on soldiers At right: Anthony, as "Antonio," performs the master action for the 3-on-1 fight, with Christian stepping in for a few close-ups. The fight was so complicated and fast, it required doubling for much of it. To see fight, dowload a video clip of the fight.

Back to the opening sequence of the episode. Richard Martin shot the master of Antonio versus the two soldiers with me doubling. The boys and I really cranked both the speed and the intensity of the action. Then I showed Christian the opening, a short but flashy middle piece and the finishing move with the individual soldiers. Having experienced partners to pair with the guest talent at each stage of the action allowed us to perform at a pace and level of complexity we couldn't have otherwise achieved.

For the final pairing, Montoya says, "Now that you've rested, perhaps you'd like to finish him off?" Grisham throws the canteen and attacks. Antonio uses the second soldier's blade, inverted in his left hand to swat away the canteen and fend off Grisham's sneaky ploy. A :"Perhaps you're more used to barbarians than gentlemen." G :"They all die the same way." Anthony added another of his patented ad libs, "Screaming."

Antonio beats Grisham At left: Antonio gets the better of Grisham, binding his hands down. At left, Christian and Anthony Lemke fight for Christian's coverage. At right, Anthony doubles Christian for Lemke's coverage.

Anthony retrieves Chencho's sword, stabbed into the ground earlier by Antonio, to again give himself the edge. Antonio, contemptuously confident, throws away the sword he took from the third soldier and winks his invitation to Grisham. The final attack is two wildly flailing sabers vs Antonio's single small sword. I doubled for Anthony Lemke's closeups and he came at me like a buzz saw. Christian and Anthony did a fine job together and in spite of his best efforts, Grisham finds himself with his arms crossed and pinned to his chest, Antonio's point pressing into his neck.

Montoya says, "The finest swordsman in Spain is also the finest in the Americas. And you will need to be if you're going to kill the Queen of swords."

This was the ideal matching of talent and choreography to tell a dynamic, character-driven story. Valentine had a perfect view as Col. Montoya, observing the action, taunting Grisham, sending in his troops, all to test the skills of his imported sword for hire. At the end of the sequence, he offered a much-appreciated compliment for a job well done.

Flashback - Duel in Madrid 1815 (or the shortest Guest Star role ever!)

Christian and Olivier duel in Madrid At right: Antonio (Christian) holds the sword to his opponent's neck (Olivier) after disarming him. Seconds later, he stabs him with his dagger, killing him.

Christian brought one of his closest friends on his trip to Spain. Francisco observed the rehearsals and Ken Gord thought that he would be perfect to fight in the duel in Madrid. We immediately put Francisco into training, but you simply don't learn these skills overnight. Christian had a performance to give. Ultimately pairing him with an untrained partner was an unacceptable risk. Although Francisco was a good physical match, I chose to substitute Olivier, one of the French professionals. Francisco made a fine "second" to Antonio and their offscreen friendship added a personal realism to their relationship onscreen. When the defeated Phillippe charges him from behind, Tessa's shout gives Antonio the warning he needs to pull a dagger and impale his foe. Marta is very displeased that Tessa has been entangled in the death of this man for the sake of "honor." Marta: "He values life too lightly. Stay away from him."


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Copyright 2000-2001 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 October 1, 2001