Just in case you’re wondering… Mike tells me it’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Apparently they’re waiting for the last students to leave the ORNC so they can film a car chase. Frankly, since it’s a Friday night, I’d just hang around Greenwich Town Centre for a while…
Archive for the ‘Fiming in Greenwich’ Category
Still not really able to post just now, but I couldn’t resist this; perhaps the (on paper at least) least convincing setting for a film. Mike saw this on Saturday – filming a documentary about Cesar Chavez, a Latino American civil rights activist.
He co-organised the United Farm Workers Association against exploitation, using non-violent, public-relations-led tactics. He’s quite the hero in the States – ‘Cesar Chavez Day’ (31 March*) is a state holiday in California, Colorado and Texas – but what on earth is a documentary about his life doing in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College?
I mean Greenwich isn’t often mistaken for California. I can only assume it’s something to do with people across the world boycotting goods.
But hey – perhaps we’ll get a chance to find out – I don’t know if it will be screened over here, but it will probably be on YouTube at some point.
(*Perhaps I should have waited a month or so – but today’s as good as any, perhaps even more appropriate, given the NUJ strike by journalists currently preventing the Today Programme)
It’s been some time since we had a peek into Gerald Dodd’s wonderful photo album from the 1960s, when he was a porter at Dreadnought Hospital and carried his camera everywhere he went.
Today, though, I want to look at something a little different – another pride-and-joy of Gerald’s, his movie camera. Gerald dickered with Super 8 throughout his time at the hospital and though it’s a bit fuzzy by today’s standards, I still find these tiny, fleeting slices of ordinary life fascinating.
We’ll start with our old friend Harry Glassblower:
Harry’s also in this one, as are Gerald’s knees at one point, and Gerald himself, if you don’t blink…
I wonder if anyone has stood at the gates of the Old Royal Naval College and just taken film of the traffic since Gerald did. It was very ordinary for him – but for us, who haven’t seen an open-backed Routemaster for years around Greenwich’s one-way system, it’s a little glimpse into the past. The couple of seconds footage of Blackheath show that some things don’t change, of course…
This is one of my favourites – a little of Docklands, a little of the river, Dreadnought, the area around – and some views from the roof of the Nurses Home (now Devonport House…)
Finally a film of two halves – the first half being the view from Devonport House again, including some spooky shots of the Cutty Sark and St Alfege, and then, from 1.33, shots of Gerald, Harry and his mates messing around – with Gerald’s bike, with a bottle, with a car, with each other. I love it.
Thank you Gerald – and thanks too, to your son-in-law who digitised them. It’s a joy to see these films.
So – the weekend’s a washout and the sun shines insolently through the office window this morning. Pah. Still, the makers of Les Miserables must be quite pleased (though I guess rain would have been eminently suitable for Revolutionary Paris…)
Here are some photos from today’s shoot, being captured by Marc:
And one or two of the set:
Thanks to everyone who’s sent in pics – it’s certainly worth a look if you haven’t got down there already. The security seems to be reasonably cool about visitors (though if they’re filming now they might be a bit more antsy than they were.)
The elephant (these shots are by Marc) is particularly impressive. I really love Canary Wharf in the background. I tried my best to get a photo with Canary Wharf through the gap in its belly while it was being built but the angle was just wrong.
The set dressing is, as always, impressive with its detail – here are some revolutionary lavender stalls, also by Marc:
And so it begins. Not sure how much they’ll eventually let us see of the filming – it can go either way – the makers of Gullivers Travels were quite happy for residents to wander round the set; virtually all my photos of Pirates of the Caribbean have a security guard’s hand over the lens but the first pieces of the set for Les Miserables are arriving.
Gary’s photo should, I guess, be part of Ham’s elephant series. I’m sure that it will be very majestic once it’s vertical but at the moment it looks like a park bench that Salvador Dali might have created. Bagsies not sit in the middle.
A collection of bird-related stories – in the loosest possible sense.
First – in case you missed the earlier post, Stephen’s sent me a pic of the basic stage for Les Miserables which is coming for filming this week with Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway etc etc. Looks like a big prod, so don’t expect much Easter access to ORNC, but plenty of star-gazing and singing along to do. Altogether now, I dreamed a dream in time gone by…
Secondly Stephen also told me about a rather odd story in the Times a few days ago. One of the ravens at the Tower went missing last year, after the Raven Master allowed some of her flight feathers (which are trimmed to prevent escape) to grow back again. He spent two days in Greenwich, ‘whistling at the trees’ after a Blue Badge Guide at the Observatory reported a ‘large bird’ in the trees outside. It’s is a wonderful image. I do hope he was in full Beefeater regalia. Munin, the bird concerned, flew off and was eventually lured back with a piece of chicken by a chap who’d spotted her in his back garden. It’s a lovely story and I’d give you a link, but I refuse to give Murdoch any cash so can’t actually get behind that pay wall.
Ah yes. Continuing the Pier story, Matt from Beware of the Trees tells me ” I had a quick chat with one of the people organising the ferry queues, who told me that everything would be opening this coming Wednesday. Given Byron and F&B now have menus up by the doors, and F&B was full of staff in full uniform having what looked like a dress rehearsal, this seems very possible. It’s seems a bit less likely that Nando’s and Zizzi will be open, but who knows.
In the true spirit of investigative journalism, Matt looked at the relevant company websites, to see if they were offering any confirmation. You’ll be pleased to know that F&B’s claim to be opening in March, and Nando’s are under the impression that they are opening in Greenwich Village.
Nice to see they have aspirations in the Big Apple too…
Regular readers will remember the strange situation the delightful little film studios just down the road in Rotherhithe found themselves in a few months ago, when the landlord of the 19th Century warehouse containing the studios, costume ateliers and picture library, not to mention Olivier’s little screening room where he shares unusual movies for free to all comers every Tuesday, decided to turn the whole lot into luxury flats and a supermarket.
Olivier took the brave decision to try to buy the building’s freehold so that this thriving local business could survive, and set about raising the money via individual shares through the government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme. Originally he thought that it would just be major investors and City boys buying the shares, but he was both surprised and delighted when he realised that it was local folk and people who actually used the studios – actors, producers, directors – who invested.
He deliberately pitched the shares at low-ish minimum investment so that it was available to as many people as possible, made it easy to invest without brokers and held open days throughout the summer where he took anyone interested round the extraordinary building, showing them what he and his team do – the tiny studios, sound-stages and workshops – and then explained the deal over a cup of tea and cake that he’d made himself.
I was entranced, but I shared Olivier’s worry that the landlord knew damn well that he had Sands over a barrel – that they wanted to buy the freehold and he could charge whatever he liked. They always feared that they’d get enough money then the landlord would demand more – in Olivier’s own words – they lived with ‘the ghost of a price increase’ or that he might just refuse to sell and go for the flats/supermarket option after all. I suspect this may have put off potential investors, though frankly the worst that would have happened is that Olivier would have had to give all the money back.
But I’m delighted to announce that the landlord has accepted the purchase offer. Olivier tells me “we have a contract, we have certainty over the price of the property and therefore the feasibility of the whole scheme.”
Now all they have to do is raise the rest of the cash they need before the completion date – 2nd April, 2012. Of course that will mean that City people will be interested as it will be somewhere they can offload tax liability before the end of the financial year, but Olivier is still keen to get ordinary people who have a love of film, but not multi-millions to spend because this is a labour of love, not a dull make-cash-quick-and-sod-anyone-else deal.
Ever-tireless, Olivier and his gang are once again inviting potential investors to visit the studio and ask all the questions they need to about the EIS scheme and the Sands Films business. Those informal events are great for the him too: giving him the chance to meet with investors and understand them better.
This is a genuine, local business, employing local people, often across generations and it is IMHO A Good Thing.
If you’ve never seen the inside of this extraordinary place, I suggest you hop on a 177, visit a fabulous historic warehouse full of amazing things, meet Olivier, drink tea, eat his home-made pear and almond cake, watch a film that has strong associations with the studio and think about this deal. It’s obligation-free – but if you’re not charmed by the passion of – and the work done by – Olivier and his team, I’ll be surprised.
He’ll be opening his doors every Saturday from 17th Jan – if memory serves, at 4.00pm (though I’m sure he’ll put me right if I’m wrong.) And though I shouldn’t say it, even if you’re not planning to invest you really should go along anyway and see this building /business. It is unique.
Several people have been asking what the filming at the ORNC is. Stephen’s just been snapping away and tells me that it’s for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows aka Sherlock Holmes 2.
A quick peek at IMDB (and the costumes of course) tells me that this is the Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey Jnr. version, rather than the BBC offering.
Aiden missed any actual shooting, but he did see the set – rather modest by Pirates of the Caribbean standards; hopefully that will mean they’ve spent the cash on a proper script…
…and the star. This is my fave picture of the lot, not for RDJ himself, but for the giggling girl in the background who can’t quite believe she’s seen him…
Ben’s just sent a couple more pics, of Rober Downey Junior chatting to visitors.
However cheesy, I do find that I warm to stars who make an effort to talk to people while they’re filming. When a community feels involved in a project, they engage (which is where that ghastly Run to the Beat noise-pollution-Greenwich-as-jail-cell fiasco fails in utter spades). Admittedly I was going to go and see Sherlock Holmes II anyway, but now I will be going with an even brighter frame of mind.
And this kid will treasure being beaten up by a film star when his bruises go down
There’s an little discussion going on in a very old thread about the first Pay-TV channel,Greenwich Cablevision, a subject about which I knew nothing back in early 2008, and still know very little about in 2011. Sadly the early comments on there were lost in my own digital switchover, but the later ones continue a fascinating conversation between people who remember it.
I was particularly intrigued by a comment that was made last night, and I thought I’d open it to a wider audience since I know there are people out there who might know the answer…
“Do any of you that worked there recall a programme in July ’72 about Marc Bolan/T.Rex? According to a news item in the music press at the time, there was to be a 30-minute feature on T.Rex’s new LP The Slider. It is the stuff of legend amongst T.Rex fans. I have tried many times to trace it, without success.”
Anyone have any idea? Transpontine? Paul T?