I have a phrase whenever I stumble across a place which has been used for filming that I wasn’t aware had been a filming location: an accidental film location. It’s happened several times:
- Going on a date (yes, really) in Bicester, Oxfordshire, I stayed overnight at RAF Bicester (Bicester Heritage) which I found on AirBnB. What I didn’t know is that where I was staying was literally next door to where they filmed a key scene in The Intimidation Game in which they’re working on the enigma machine.
- Dunsfold Park. I think it’s fair to say it is an accidental filming location because who the heck knows what kind of projects film there. But we’ve had: Star Wars: A Solo Story, Top Gear, London Has Fallen, A Theory of Everything, Marvel’s Secret Invasion, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and many, many more besides.
You’ll see the final sequence of the practice chase in the final trailer below. All shot at Dunsfold (you’ll see the aircraft hangars in the background). Of course, the irony here is that the film was co-written by Jane Goldman whom I interviewed earlier on when she co-wrote Stardust with Matthew Vaughn.
Then there’s Arezzo in Italy. Back in October, 2005, I went to Italy with my wife (now ex-wife) and her parents and we hired a car and drove all around Tuscany. We stayed in a beautiful small cottage in the countryside. We made our way through many of the beautiful small villages that are dotted around the area and ended up in Florence, but one particular village stood out.
I was walking down one of the streets and it had an oddly familar feel to it. I knew it from somewhere, but I couldn’t be sure until I spotted a poster on a nearby wall. It confirmed it. We were in the filming location for one of my all-time favourite films, the Oscar-winning Life is Beautiful.
And the trailer for the film:
What was interesting is that we ate at a restaurant that Roberto Benigni either frequented (because he is a native of Arezzo and is a long time customer), or used many times during the filming, as it had big images of him on the walls. And judging by the position on one of the images, we were sitting at his table. Either way, this accidental film location was pretty darn special.
Though to be fair, 2005 was an interesting year overall. In December I flew to New York to attend to world premiere of Peter Jackson’s King Kong. It was a star-studded affair (so I’m glad I took a tuxedo with me) and I found myself looking back at George Lucas who was sitting several rows behind me. It was truly a surreal time.
Interestingly, the most recent event turned up while I was on holiday. It turns out that Hideo Kojima, a world-renowned games developer (the “Metal Gear” series and most recently “Death Stranding”) turned up at work with filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive”, “The Neon Demon”, “Bronson” and provides the likeness for Heartman in Death Stranding).