Cape the big star as US film crew rolls in

A superhero sci-fi movie is the latest film to start filming in Cape Town and the first by major US studio 20th Century Fox, highlighting the city's growing attractivenes as a location for foreign film-makers.

Chronicle, which started shooting last week at Cape Film Studios in Faure, follows the filming of Safe House, starring Hollywood superstars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, which is now wrapping up in the city.

Chronicle doesn’t boast any major Hollywood names and, according to Denis Lillie, chief executive of the Cape Film Commission, the film will be aimed at teenagers.

But, while the film would not have headline-grabbing names, it would provide other benefits.

“In Cape Town the spend will be about R50 million to R75m and they will be employing 80 to 85 percent local crew,” said Lillie.

Western Cape Finance and Economic Development Minister Alan Winde said Fox had shot television programmes in South Africa, but this was its first feature film.

He added that Cape Town would be doubling as Seattle in the movie, which would be shot over about 18 weeks.

The set is being built at Cape Town Film Studios and there would also be shoots in Gansbaai and the CBD.

“A lot of shooting will take place at night,” said Lillie.

If Fox’s shoot went well, they would probably shoot two or three more movies in Cape Town.

Winde, who met with Fox last week, said they had discussed that Cape Town didn’t have typical US-style suburbs, and had talked about creating something to be used for future shoots.

Lillie explained that while Disney had developed a typical “American suburbia” in Florida which was used for shoots, it was more likely that semi-permanent sets would be built in Cape Town, probably at Cape Town Film Studios.

“We’re more likely to build sets like a (Desperate Housewives) Wisteria Lane suburb, downtown New York and a working American diner. We’re still working up proposals but these could become tourist attractions.”

They were also trying to build a database of about 70 left-hand-drive vehicles, American-style school buses and ambulances for shoots here.

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