Cape Town set to clinch big-budget movie deal

Cape Town is close to clinching a deal for the most expensive movie to be shot in South Africa. Negotiations are advanced, according to those close to the deal. Cape Town Film Commission CEO Denis Lillie said confidentiality agreements were in place, but the Los Angeles-based producers had "pretty much committed" to making the $150-million film in South Africa. by Scott Congdon

"It's very exciting. Filming is due to begin in November. The producers had a few concerns about sourcing certain support services, which are key aspects of the narrative, and I am convinced that we can provide them," said Lillie.

Cape Town has hosted several big-budget productions such as Safe House and Dredd , which had budgets of about $85-million and $50-million respectively.

Avengers 2, the Joss Whedon film that was shot in Johannesburg this year, had a total budget of more than $200-million. Not all of that was spent in Johannesburg because scenes were also shot in London, Italy and South Korea.

Two films due to be released in the US shortly, The Giver and the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore film Blended, were also shot in South Africa. The Giver, which stars Meryl Streep and Taylor Swift, had a budget of $30-million.

Lillie said the new movie was an action-adventure, "Gladiator-type film" that would be set in "hot and dusty" scenery.

He said the makers had originally considered shooting some scenes in Budapest but had decided to keep the production in one place.

Executives of top Hollywood studios recently visited Cape Town and were complimentary about the local industry.

Also looking to film in the city is a Canadian company, which will be turning a trilogy of books into a TV series.

Lillie said each book would be made into a 12-episode series.

This comes after an announcement that the Emmy award-winning series Homeland, starring Claire Danes, would also be heading to Cape Town to shoot its fourth season from mid-June until November.

Show producer Alex Gansa said: "We're thrilled to have found a new home in Cape Town and look forward to getting season four production off the ground."

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