At a reception at London’s Barbican Centre last night, Film London took the opportunity to announce the many high-profile international films that are currently shooting or about to shoot in the city.
In spite of fears that the Olympics would drive away international business, London - it is clear - is actually undergoing a mini production boom.
The Fast And The Furious 6 is currently shooting here as is Ridley Scott’s The Counselor. Kenneth Branagh is soon to direct Jack Ryan in London. Kick-Ass 2 is shortly to begin production. Tom Cruise has recently arrived in the UK to star in Warner Bros backed All You Need Is Kill, shooting at Leavesden. Thor 2 will also be shooting in the London area. Disney’s live-action fairy tale Maleficient starring Angelina Jolie is likewise London-based.
As London receives plaudits for its staging of the Olympics, The Mayor of London Boris Johnson (addressing guests through a specially recorded video message) trumpeted the city’s attractions as a hub for film.
“Thanks to the unique opportunities for film-makers, including a world-class roster of talent in front of and behind the camera, and amazing locations that are recognisable the world over, we are delighted that more and more productions are deciding to set up shop in London,” Johnson stated. “The film industry in and around London supports 70,000 jobs and generates nearly £1bn of spending every year, providing a fantastic boost to our economy. I fully expect to see this increase in the coming years.”
Other speakers in the Barbican Conservatory included Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London, Amanda Nevill, Director of the British Film Institute, Amanda Berry, Bafta Chief-Executive and Josh Berger, Warner Bros’ UK President, likewise tub-thumped on behalf of London to guests from the British and international media. Tom Felton, Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series, was also on hand to talk up London’s attractions.
Referring to Warner Bros’ recently opened Harry Potter theme park at Leavesden Studios, its acquisition of Shed Media, its involvement in TV and computer games and its continuing commitment to film production, Berger [pictured] said the studio “couldn’t have been more invested” in the UK.
Amanda Lewis, Executive Producer of The Fast And The Furious 6, said the project had come to the UK “because we wanted to bring the franchise to London and to Europe and to expand the global reach of our franchise.”
Lewis acknowledged that the UK film tax credit “doesn’t hurt” but said that wasn’t the only reason the film set up in London. “We wanted to be in a city that was iconic of Europe and to take advantage of our action sequences on the streets and London was the best place for that.”
She added that the production hadn’t been hampered by the Olympics. “We’ve planned our schedule very carefully. For the next few weeks, we are at Shepperton, which seems to be away from the Olympic fray…we are very excited to experience the energy that is here. Everybody from our actors to some of the crew members we have brought over here is excited to be here at such a historic time.”