Filming Them on the Beaches
Here comes the French invasion as the seafront at Redcar in Cleveland is transformed into 1940s Dunkirk - literally a bomb site with tons of rubble, craters, bombed-out houses and tanks half-buried in the sand - for the film version of Ian McEwan's bestselling novel, Atonement, starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. In addition, 1,000 local people will be needed as extras when filming begins at the end of the month under the direction of Joe Wright, who made the most recent screen version of Pride And Prejudice.
Representatives from local authorities will gather at Redcar racecourse on Tuesday for screen agency Northern Film and Media's Filming Friendly launch. "We're working with all the authorities to help make the experience of filming good for both sides," says NFM Chief Executive Tom Harvey. "The idea is they could have a staff member responsible for looking after film companies. Atonement is going to be an amazing thing for Redcar. Few big historical films are shot in the world any more and this one is going to be shot in our region."
The chance for film fame hasn't escaped Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, which agreed to filming after detailed talks with Working Title Films. "The profile we'll get during filming will be fantastic," says Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick, the council's cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism. "It's got to be good for the tourism trade, hotels, bars, restaurants, taxis and painters and decorators, for example. The potential of the profile from a blockbuster movie is probably immeasurable."