The ensuing battle resulted in a narrow defeat of the English forces under King Harold II and ushered in a period of cultural assimilation that would forever change English history, though as Stearns notes, "...results of cultural exchange prior to [the years after 1500] were often varied, seldom overturning earlier patterns" (Stearns 158). Indeed, William sought to preserve as much of the English traditions and feudal system as possible; including the role women played in society. The battle itself, which will be the central focus of the movie, was initiated when King Harold deployed his forces about six miles from Hastings along the road that went to London and Duke William gathered his army below the English position after his landing (Wikipedia 1). The resulting clash ended with the English retreating into the forest and William, ultimately, ascending the throne and battling to conquer the rest of the country while placing Normans into key political and religious positions.
The movie is to be shot on location in the south of England and include the towns of Hastings and Battle, as well as the road and field where the conflict took place near Battle Abbey. There will be preliminary scenes from the coast of Normandy where William prepares to invade, as well as London and the north of England where Herald hears of William's arrival. This setting will provide the perfect landscape and forestry necessary to give the film an opportunity to accurately portray the events, as well as lend historical legitimacy as the studio can promote the "on location" filming.
Although there will literally be a cast of thousands during the battle scenes, the majority will be extras under the coordination of a military battle director. The key dramatic characters will be: William the Conqueror, King Harold II, and their primary military advisors who will play relatively small, but important, roles. The focus of the movie will be on the personalities of William and Herold as they come together to fulfill their destinies.
The plot will commence with William planning his strategy for the invasion, and demonstrating his frustration at actually landing much later than originally planned. With William standing unopposed upon the beach, the scene will shift to Harold, who has just defeated the Norwegian assault in the north and hears of William's invasion. The plot will flow between the two central characters as they confer with their advisors, prepare their strategies, position their troops, and anticipate the battle itself. They will inevitably be driven towards each other and the battle that is the climax of the picture. The big action scenes will center on this battle, showing accurate medieval methods of battlefield strategy and combat. The denouement will be William's reaction to his success, and his apprehension of what this bare victory portends as he subdues the rest of the countryside.
All players will be in period dress, with the men-at-arms clad in chain mail. The soldiers will bear circular shields as their secondary defensive garb, and wield swords, spears, and battle axes. The archers will be un-armored and use both crossbows and long bows to launch their bolts and arrows.