Detroit may just have filed for bankruptcy but that hasn’t stopped filmmakers arriving in the troubled US city in their droves, among them British writer-producer-director Suzie Halewood.
Michael Bay is busy shooting Transformers 4 in Detroit, where Ryan Gosling has also just finished shooting his feature directorial debut, How To Catch A Monster.
Now, Suzie Halewood is in the first week of shooting her dystopian thriller Division 19 starring Neve Campbell, Clarke Peters (The Wire) and Jamie Draven.
The British qualifying film, financed through EIS and private investment and also through local tax credits, is set in 2039. In a grim, futuristic society, online viewers determine the fates of members of the burgeoning prison population. Neve Campbell plays Nielsen, the woman who runs all the jails.
“There are a lot of derelict houses,” said Halewood of Detroit as a location. “It is absolutely desolate. On a Sunday morning, you can walk downtown seeing no-one. You won’t see a car or a human being…you’ll have one high rise and next to that, a burnt out house. It is spectacular to look at.”
Halewood (who also scripted Gerard Butler film One More Kiss) will conduct the post-production for the film in the UK. Division 19 has received tax credits from the Michigan Film Office. Halewood said these were unaffected by the fiscal problems facing Detroit itself.
Sales agents and distributors are reportedly circling the project. However, Halewood is keen to finish the film before completing any deals.
Halewood is working with a primarily US crew but her director of photography is Ben Moulden, who shot her previous feature Bigga Then Ben.
The film is being produced through Division 19 Films. The executive producers are Diane Kasperowicz and David Mutch.