War romance Their Finest premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and has now opened on general release in the UK, bringing humour and warmth to the days of London in the blitz.
The film about filmmaking was itself a significant shoot, bringing hundreds of cast and crew into our streets in September 2015, including stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy and Richard E Grant. Take a look at the trailer here.
On Camden’s Bedford Square 150 cast and crew filmed for two days, with road controls and action vehicles all to be managed – while the Square itself looked its finest, dressed for the period.
In one of the most dramatic scenes, shot in Islington’s St John Street, Gemma Arterton is seen walking past a dress boutique, which is hit by a bomb. In an eerie scene, she walks among mannequins scattered around the pavement, before coming across a dead body in the wreckage. The production made a donation to local residents during this shoot, to thank them.
In Haringey, the beautiful Hornsey Town Hall became the venue for a film premiere – hosting as many as 100 cast and crew.
And in Lambeth’s Venn Street, Gastro restaurant lent itself to some of the film’s scenes.
The production was more than welcomed by local residents, some of whom wrote to the locations team afterwards, thanking them.
Following the shoot in September 2015, Stephen Heath of the resident group Bloomsbury Association wrote, “We have had many films shot in Bedford Square but this weekend surpassed them all.
“It was fantastic entertainment delivered by a superbly well organised team. It was two very long, tiring days for you all but everybody was so friendly and polite – both performers and supporters.
“Thank you for visiting Bloomsbury this weekend and for cheering us all up. We hope that [Their Finest] goes well; we look forward to seeing it and having your wonderful team back with us again on Bedford Avenue soon.”
FilmFixer manages the film office service for these London boroughs. FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “It might be set in the dramatic days of the blitz, but at its heart this is a rom-com, and our boroughs do a great job of bringing this heart-warming story to life.
“We were really impressed that these significant, complicated scenes could be shot in central London with very minimal disruption and a great deal of positive resident engagement.
“We’ve been very much looking forward to the film being released in the UK.”