What’s it like to see your hometown on the cinema screen? It would be weird for me, as Exeter has never, as far as I know, been seen in any major modern film or TV series. Its historic quay area was used for some sequences in the TV series The Onedin Line,but I’ve never really seen a place with which I’m intimately familiar on the big screen. This applies to pretty much everywhere I’ve lived – Exeter, Norwich, London, Dublin, Genova and Brussels. Even though some of those are capital cities, London is the only one you ever see with any regularity (and even then it’s just a token shot of the Houses of Parliament or the London Eye before they cut to a studio interior). It has to be said that this is partly because the local authorities make it so much more difficult for film crews over here than they do on the other side of the Atlantic
But for some people this must be normal. How does it feel if you live in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D. C.? Does it make the movie feel closer to you, like it’s part of your world, or does it make you feel like your world is part of a movie set, filled with recognisable views, streets, buildings?
Michael Winterbottom is currently shooting a film called Genova, and, as far as I know, this is the first time such a high profile (it stars Colin Firth! Swoon!) international production has been made (and set) there. It’ll be interesting to see it when it comes out next year, but I worry that it’ll take me out of the story a little. When I watch a film and they go somewhere I know, it breaks the spell, like they’ve stepped out of “movieland” and into the “real world”, à la Last Action Hero.
There are advantages to your town never being in a famous film. New Zealanders must by now be sick of hordes of Tolkein fans trampling over their landscape saying “Look! The Fields of Pelennor!”