Since the Golden Age of cinema, UK film studios have always benefited from attracting independent and major productions from all over the world. And now it would appear the UK film industry is entering a second Golden Age. What’s being filmed here?
Pinewood Studios, Shepperton Studios, Elstree Studios, Leavesden Studios – they’re all chock-a-block full of major film productions, so much so they’ve had to turn down several major productions in the last couple of years, sparking plans to expand both Leavesden and Pinewood to accommodate the demand.
It’s a welcome change when you consider that back in the 1990s there was a significant dip in interest. Hollywood were taking their business elsewhere. So what caused this resurgence? We suspect Harry Potter had something to do with it. The productions proved that the UK could produce slick, CGI-heavy blockbusters to equal anything coming out of Burbank. The deal was sealed when Warner bought Leavesden Studios in 2010.
So what’s currently ‘in-production’ here in the UK?
A recent development is the production of Tarzan, which began filming on location and at Warner Bros Studios Leavesden just last week. The new action adventure based on the classic story Tarzan stars Alexander Skarsgård in the title role, with The Wolf of Wall Street‘s Margot Robbie portraying Jane Porter. This time around Tarzan who has made a life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate problems at a mining encampment
Star Wars: Episode VII
The latest in the Star Wars franchise is widely known to be filming in the UK. At Pinewood studios to be exact. Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, the new instalment brings together old and new cast members and is the first under the rule of new owners Walt Disney. Just last month it was also announced that the first spin-off from the series will also be filmed in the UK. The film will be helmed by British director, Gareth Edwards.
Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron
Shepperton Studios made a tidy profit when Marvel, Joss Whedon and co decided to film the sequel to the blockbuster hit Avengers Assemble here in the UK. Avengers: Age of Ultron has been spotted filming in other countries too, South Africa, South Korea and Italy being notable examples, but the bulk is ‘made in Britain’. Aside from the studio, outside filming has taken place at University of East Anglia, Hawley Woods in Hampshire and around London. As well as a returning cast that includes Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo, new cast members include Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch.
Disney’s live-action version of the classic animated feature film Cinderella, stars Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother Lady Tremaine, Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother (of course!) and Downton Abbey Stars Sophie McShera and Lily James as ugly step sister Drizella and Cinderella respectively. UK filming locations for the production included Pinewood Studios and Black Park in Buckinghamshire, Windsor Castle in Berkshire, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.
The fight for women’s right to vote is a worthy subject for a movie. And as the story is set in the UK, it makes sense for production to have taken place at Elstree Studios and on location. The film, now in post production stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep as they are forced to take their fight for early 20th Century feminism underground against an increasingly brutal State and will be released in January next year.
This retelling of the classic tale by JM Barrie is being directed by Joe Wright of Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and Anna Karenina fame, so naturally the production is being shot in the UK. Pan will make its home in both Leavesden Studios and Cardington Studios, along with exterior filming that will take place around the UK. Pan, which is to be released July 2015 has an all-star cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried and Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily. Youngster Levi Miller takes on the role of Peter Pan.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Not only is the spin-off from the Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them going to be a trilogy (well, hopefully), the production is returning to the home of Harry Potter, Leavesden Studios. Last week Warner Bros confirmed they are building three new state-of-the-art sound stages at Leavesden, to make room for the new film series. Probably because the permanent exhibition of the original franchise takes up two studios these days. J.K. Rowling is to pen her first screenplay for the project too. Exciting!
From the looks of things, all these projects are just for starters. We’ll keep you updated when we hear more.