French Chateau in west Houston becomes a movie set


by Katherine Whaley / KHOU 11 News

Posted on May 24, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Updated Thursday, May 24 at 3:01 PM

HOUSTON—It’s a beautiful mansion nestled in the heart of the Sherwood Forest neighborhood, and it’s getting a lot of attention—not just from neighbors, but also from filmmakers.

The home, a replica of an authentic French Chateau, takes center stage in “A Broken Hart.” The film is about a reclusive millionaire, who battles family heartbreak and an impossible interest in his psychologist.
When Houston filmmakers Jesse and Jaquay Young, of Advanced Eye Films, started looking for a place to shoot, they stumbled upon the French Chateau –for sale – off Friar Tuck, in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood.
“We found it online, it was for sale, I didn’t have 5.6 million dollars, but I had a movie I sure would like to shoot here,” Jaquay Young laughed.
In the film, lead character Arthur Hart ultimately destroys the inside of his palatial mansion. It was a part of the plot spontaneously written in to make art imitate life—the current owners of the chateau stripped the interior for remodeling before deciding to sell it.
“One thing just led to another and they just completely gutted the house,” Realtor Diane Kingshill of Martha Turner properties said.
Kinsghill is trying to find potential buyers, and she hopes the movie will bring it a little more exposure.
“From a sales standpoint, the house is a shell, but to be such an authentic-style French chateau, that’s rare,” she said.
She explains that the story behind the chateau is worthy of a movie itself. The original owner served in World War II and made it his life work—and spent his life savings—to build this replica of the Chateau Fontainebleau, in France’s the Loire Valley.
“He saw Fontainebleau in France, he wanted to come back and reproduce it,” Kingshill said.
From the limestone quarried and imported from France to the authentic slate roof, no expense was spared. On the inside, the fireplaces – all eight of them – and the staircase were imported from Parisian homes scheduled for demolition during the 1960’s. Experienced French craftsmen traveled to Texas to conduct the meticulous construction on the 2.4 acre estate.
“They retrofitted it to this house once it was back in Houston,” Kingshill explained.
Now the chateau, regardless of its future, will be immortalized as it is today in film.
“We just all want to rush to get it done so we can see it happen,” Jaquay Young said.