Ever wonderedwhere that scene in your favourite film was shot?Well look no further... LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
LORDOF THE RINGS/ THEHOBBIT: NEWZEALAND It might be in the news as the end- of-the-world bolthole for paranoid Silicon Valley billionaires, but it was Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy Lord of The Rings ( 2001-2003 ) that first brought the stunning variety of New Zealand’s landscapes to many people’s attention. The Shire, home to the Hobbits, is actually Matamata on North Island, about two hours’ drive from Auckland, and you can actually tour the 44 houses that were built for the films (hobbitontours.com). More dramatically, there is also the beautifully rugged Tongariro National Park – home to three active volcanoes, one of which, Ngauruhoe, doubled as Mount Doom. On the South Island, the best base is Queenstown, which gives access to the locations of the Elven forest of Lothlórien and Treebeard’s Fangorn and is the gateway to the snow-capped Misty Mountains. You can explore on foot, by bike, on horse or by air.
LA LA LAND: LOS ANGELES
By Robert Ryan
MAMMAMIA!: GREECE The first slice of this guilty pleasure came out in 2008. It was mostly shot on the Greek island of Skopelos. The church wedding is at Agios Ioannis in Castri (song: Winner Takes It All ) and the beach is Kastani – the spot where the songs Does Your Mother Know , Lay All Your Love On Me and I Have A Dream are given an airing. Some scenes were filmed on Skiathos (the harbour at Bourtzi) and at Pelion (at Damouhari Mouresion) on the mainland, where Dancing Queen Meryl Streep dive- bombs into the water. This year’s sequel, Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again is again set in Greece, but this time shooting took place on the Croatian island of Vis, home to Stiniva, one of the best beaches on the Med. This 2016 love letter to Los Angeles bristles with recognisable restaurants, clubs and freeways. One of the film’s pivotal moments, Mia and Sebastian’s heart-warming song-and-dance routine, was filmed at Cathy’s Corner, on the road that cuts through Griffith Park (laparks.org/griffithpark). It overlooks the twinkling San Fernando Valley, which is a grand view, but be aware that the benches and streetlights were set dressing, not real. The park is also home to another La La Land locale, the domed Griffith Observatory, which has featured in movies since 1935, including Rebel Without A Cause (1955) and Terminator (1984).
P erhaps it’s time for the Oscars, the Baftas and the Golden Globes to introduce a new category: Best Movie Location. The appearance of a stunning landscape or an exotic city in a film has the power to send audiences flocking to visit the actual spot where the cameras rolled. Newspaper travel sections often have to answer questions such as: “Where is the hotel in The Shining ?” (Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Oregon), “What’s the name of the beach where Ursula Andress emerges from the sea in Dr No ?” (Laughing Waters, Jamaica) or “Where is the shark-attack beach in Jaws ?” (Martha’s Vineyard island). And it isn’t just film – this is a Golden Age for TV locations. Downton Abbey has put its alter ego, Highclere Castle in Hampshire, firmly on the tourist trail, and nobody has accurately estimated how much Game of Thrones fans have added to Iceland or Northern Ireland’s coffers, but it is enough for a sizeable deposit in the Iron Bank. Here then, are my own nominations for Best Movie Locations, some classic, others recent and a few yet to come.
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