London’s Lure for Hollywood Filmmakers

The BBC has a great piece on how and London has become a popular destination for Hollywood movies.

It seems to be a combination of:

Acting Talent

“Big US films love to cast Brits – think of the number of Academy Awards British actors win,” says Mr Wotton. “With London, studios don’t have to worry about casting – there’s a rich pool.”

Skilled Filmmakers

Mr Wootton explains: “We’ve spent more than any other country skilling up crews, so we now have the largest and most highly skilled crews and the best craftsmen.”

The industry has also invested in research and development and special effects in London.

“The special effects square mile of Soho has six of the eight most successful visual effects companies in the world,” Mr Wootton says.

Tax Incentives

The introduction of tax breaks for studios choosing to film in the UK has also helped, with Labour announcing a tax credit for film producers in 1997, and further incentives in 2006.

“Compared with LA, the UK’s tax credit system has proven itself to be sustained,” says Mr Wootton.

At Thor 2: The Dark World’s press conference, Marvel production president Kevin Feige supported this view.

“There’s a very good tax incentive that lures the studios in,” he said. “But what keeps us coming back are the amazing crews.”

Great Locations

“When you walk down a street, you might see a rusty door,” says London film scout Philip Lobban. “A lot of those doors lead to secret, fascinating places.

Not to mention versatility:

“You can take a five minute walk and pass through Victorian cobbles, tarmac and skyscrapers.”

Film crews can choose Shakespearean, Dickensian, Georgian, and 21st Century London as required. But London is also a city that can masquerade as elsewhere.

“I’ve looked for Yemeni Dams, Philadelphian streets and moon and Martian land in London,” Mr Lobban says.

The capital has doubled as Paris, Dublin, Toronto and New York for various films.

The fact that we speak the same language probably helps too.

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