April is proving a busy period for film production in Bristol as the second feature film to be made in the city this month has begun shooting today, supported by the city’s dedicated Film Office.
“April has been a fantastic month for Bristol on the big screen. We’re delighted to have supported both Guernsey and Stan & Ollie to use our locations this month. Films like these take months of preparation where we introduce the filmmakers to Bristol and show them exactly what the city has to offer. Whether its setting up location recces and liaising with local partners, closing roads or processing permits, a lot of work goes on in the background to help filming run smoothly. Shoots like these are major operations that employ local crew and bring an influx of cast and crew to the city to spend in our local economy. The benefits to Bristol are significant, worth more than £16 million to the city last year alone, not to mention boosting Bristol’s profile as a world class filming destination.” – Natalie Moore of Bristol Film Office
Mike Newell’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is filming this week along the same stretch of harbourside that earlier this month hosted filming for Jon S. Baird’s Stan & Ollie.
Attracted to Bristol by its uniquely well-preserved harbour, the filmmakers behind Guernsey will recreate a 1940’s dockside using Princes Wharf and its famous vintage paddle steamer, The Balmoral. Bristol Film Office has worked with the production team over the past four months to provide location scouting and recces, liaising with the industrial team at M-Shed, securing unit base at Wapping Wharf, sourcing costume stores and arranging holding areas for extras.
“Bristol has a fantastic, dockside museum, which has been beautifully preserved. It has enabled us to transform the exterior to represent Weymouth Docks in 1946. We’re grateful for the support of the Bristol Film Office in helping us bring our scenes here to life.” – Guernsey Producer Paula Mazur
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is the film adaptation of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ international best-selling novel of the same name. Lily James stars as journalist Juliet Ashton who forms a bond with a secret book society formed during German occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII. The free-spirited Ashton forms a life-changing bond with the eccentric Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, when she decides to write about the club.
Other cast includes Michiel Huisman, Glen Powell, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay and Penelope Wilton. Princes Wharf was also the star attraction for the filmmakers behind Stan & Ollie – which filmed major harbour scenes earlier this month featuring The Balmoral ship, with other scenes also filming in the vicinity of Bristol Hippodrome. Again, Bristol Film Office facilitated filming, working with Stan & Ollie’s production team to secure locations and set up a unit base at Lloyds Amphitheatre.
Inspired by actual events, Stan & Ollie is an original film based on one of the worlds most loved comedy duos and geniuses of their time – Laurel & Hardy. Penned by award winning screenwriter Jeff Pope and directed by Jon S. Baird, Stan & Ollie stars stellar lead actors Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy. Stan and Ollie celebrates the duo’s unique friendship and legendary working partnership.
Laurel & Hardy, the world’s favourite comedy double act, set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. As they set out, crisscrossing the country, attendances are disappointingly low. But they’ve always been able to make each other laugh and as the charm and beauty of their performances shines through their audiences laugh too, and they re-connect with legions of adoring fans, old and new.
“The Balmoral was a gem of a find. Its conserved beauty was the perfect setting for a crucial moment in the film and we couldn’t have done it without the wonderful support of Bristol.” – Stan & Ollie producer Faye Ward
Other films made in Bristol recently include Ritesh Batra’s The Sense of an Ending, Chris Menaul’s Another Mother’s Son, John Miller’s Golden Years, Claire Downes’s upcoming We Can Be Heroes, Damon Beesley and Iain Morris’s The Inbetweeners 2.