US film production in the UK
US film projects have a robust history of choosing to film in the UK with the combined lure of tax incentives, state-of-the-art studios and world-class crew.
With the help of our online subscriber database, Production Intelligence, we bring you a round-up of how the US dollar is currently being spent on film production in the UK.
Disney comes to town
We recently reported on a specific UK location – Minley Manor in Hampshire – that is being used by Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which recently started filming at a major UK studio.
There are several crucial UK hires on board the new interpretation of ETA Hoffman’s classic tale about the Christmas toy that comes to life; PI subscribers have been receiving updates since May.
The Mouse House is indeed proving a major investor in the UK at the moment, hot on the heels of the juggernaut that is the Star Wars series and its anthology spin-offs.
The next in the Star Wars-related canon to head towards production is the Han Solo anthology film, which will be released after Star Wars: Episode VIII. A team is fully in place in the UK with principal photography set to begin next year.
Still with Disney, and earlier this year, producer Andrew Gunn took the time to talk to us about his plans for Cruella, the forthcoming feature starring Emma Stone as the stony-hearted, puppy-loathing Cruella DeVil. The film is set in a punk-era London and has a screenplay by Kelly Marcel.
We’ll be updating on this one soon so keep an eye on your inbox if you’re following this project on PI.
Disney is also the studio behind Mary Poppins Returns, which will see Emily Blunt as the titular nanny, revisiting the Banks children – now all grown up – in Depression-era London.
The film is currently in pre-production at a major UK studio: PI subscribers can log in for more including the name of the production manager.
Action in London and Spielberg’s dystopian Birmingham
Currently shooting on the streets of London is American Assassin, the Michael Keaton-starrer adapted from Vince Flynn’s novel about a Cold War veteran working for the CIA.
Michael Cuesta directs from Stephen Schiff’s screenplay; LA-based CBS Films is behind the project.
Also filming in the UK is Steven Spielberg’s dystopian Ready Player One – we were first with the news nearly a year ago that the Anglophile uber-director had once again chosen the UK when we detailed the studio on PI. We then returned with key UK HoD updates in March, three months before the start of shooting.
The film has recently been shooting on location in Birmingham.
Monsters and more
Superheroes, dinosaurs and robots are making their presence felt too, with Justice League currently in production, the untitled Jurassic World sequel in pre-production and Transformers: The Last Knight recently spotted filming around the Northumberland coast and Alnwick Castle.
PI subscribers can log in for more on these blockbusters such as studio details and HoDs.
Warner Bros.’ The Flash is currently preparing for a 2017 start at a major UK studio. From director Rick Famuyiwa, the film stars Ezra Miller as the speedy superhero with support from Kiersey Clemons and Billy Crudup. PI has details of key UK HoDs, with more names to be confirmed over the coming weeks.
The studio giant is also working on its big-screen version of Dungeons & Dragons, readying for a 2017 shoot. The LA-based producers on the film include Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment, with director Rob Letterman calling the shots from David Leslie Johnson’s screenplay.
Dog detectives and super-sleuths
At the other end of the spectrum is Kenneth Branagh’s next outing as director, Murder on the Orient Express. Branagh has been busy all year with his new theatre company but is now gearing up to film the Agatha Christie whodunit in November, which will also take in Malta locations. The studio and key hires including the production designer are listed on PI.
Wales and Las Vegas make somewhat unlikely location bedfellows for Show Dogs, a new feature about a talking police Rottweiler going undercover at a dog show. From the director of Big Momma’s House, Raja Gosnell, the film’s entry on PI has details including the studio and key production personnel including the line producer, production designer and location manager.
In a new take on Conan Doyle’s cerebral sleuth and his medical sidekick, Will Ferrell and John C Reilly will take up the mantle as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson respectively. Holmes and Watson is in pre-production now at a UK studio, with HoDs on PI including line producer, production designer, production co-ordinator and UPM.
Further illustrating the range of US projects set to be in at UK studios or on location is Isle of Man, the forthcoming feature from writer/director Ben Younger set against the backdrop of the gruelling TT motorbike road race on the eponymous island.
We will be returning with more news on this one, which is from Michael DeLuca Productions and Bold Films, as names and dates are locked down, so make sure you’re following it on PI in the meantime.
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Steven Spielberg photo via Getty Images Ent/Andrew Burton.
Michael Keaton photo via Getty Images Ent/Jason Merrit.
Kenneth Branagh photo via Getty Images Ent/.Frederick M Brown
Also on The Knowledge
Chris Evans, editor of our sister site, KFTV, talked exclusively to Guy Dunstan, managing director of Arenas within the NEC Group, about how and why they are offering their facilities for film and TV shooting.
Hertsmere Borough Council has given the green light for construction to begin on Sky Studios Elstree, due to open in 2022.
Dagenham Studios – set to be the largest film facility in London – looks set to go ahead after unanimous planning approval was granted at a Barking and Dagenham council meeting last night (6 July).
The British Film Commission (BFC) has received £4.8m from this week’s Budget to expand its remit of promoting the UK as a production hub for studio space investment.
Apple has commissioned a new high-octane drama starring Uma Thurman.
ITV has commissioned two new, non-scripted formats for weekend mornings, to begin transmission in April.