Why Barcelona is the favourite film location

Why Barcelona is the favourite film location

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Woody Allen has announced he will make his new film in Spain, probably filming in Barcelona. So what's new? The city has long been used to Hollywood coming to town.

Woody Allen, the famously neurotic New York director, is to shoot his next film in Spain, most probably in the streets of Barcelona.

The as-yet-untitled film, to be made with Barcelona-based company Mediapro, will start filming from 2007.

Allen said he will use Hollywood and Spanish actors (probably code for American and Penelope Cruz or possibly Leonor Watling).

Little else is known so far about the project, but it will just be the latest movie to be filmed in the Catalan capital.   

Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs

Last summer, one of the giants of the silver screen, Dustin Hoffman, came to Barcelona to star in his latest film along with British star Alan Rickman. So what's new? The city has long been used to Hollywood coming to town.

Those dingy streets of the Barrio Gotic are many a filmmakers' dream. They have atmosphere, menace and a whole lot else.

But if the director is looking for a beautiful background, there are plenty of pretty placas  to choose from.

Barcelona's trademark gothic gloom or Gaudiesque splendour have attracted the latest arrival from Hollywood.

Dustin Hoffman will star in the film adaptation of Patrick Suskind's hit novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.    

Hoffman has starred in so many top films but always seems to be remembered for playing Benjamin in The Graduate.

He is to play a master perfume maker, while British actor Alan Rickman (Love Actually) takes on the role of  perfume merchant Antoine Richis.

Another British actor Ben Wishaw (Enduring Love) is play the film's central figure, Grenouille, a man who has a supernatural sense of smell who sets out to create the perfect fragrance.

To do this he will distil the essence of young virgins. 

The German director Tom Tykwer believes he has recreated the streets of 18th Century Paris, where the novel is set, in some of the dark, menacing streets of Barcelona.

They used 5,000 extras and had advertised for 'middle-aged people who looked like they came from the 18th Century who had long hair'. 

Twykner said: "We are obsessed with convincing the public that the characters are real."

Apart from Barcelona, Girona, near the border between Catalonia, in north-east Spain, and Munich will be used for some scenes.

Alan Rickman in Love Actually

Tykwer is best known for the 1998 thriller Run Lola Run

The film should be his biggest challenge yet as it is his first big-budget film. 

Suskind's book sold 12 million copies worldwide since it hit the bookshelves in 1985, making it the most successful German novel since Eric Maria Remarque's classic All Quiet on the Western Front.

But Perfume is just the latest in a long line of films to be shot on the streets of Barcelona.

Michelangelo Antonioni's 1975 thriller The Passenger featured the city's trams and starred a young Jack Nicholson staring alongside Maria Schneider.

More recently, Calista Flockhart, star of the television series Ally McBeal, was in Barcelona to film the supernatural Fragile, in which her character tries to find out the truth behind a series of attacks at a children's hospital.

More interesting for star watchers, she brought her boyfriend, one Harrison Ford, to town and the paparazzi spent many a weary night waiting for that shot of them together. They did surprise a lot of tourists on a visit to the Sagrada Familia.

Perhaps to please the paparazzi  — or to get them off their backs — Ford was pictured trying to overturn a rubbish bin.  Hmm, so what?

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar filmed his 1999 comedy Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother) in Barcelona with his favourite female leads, Penelope Cruz and Cecilia Roth.

Barcelona Barrio Gotic, a possible backdrop for Perfume

But one of the films to make best use of the city's architecture was Uncovered.

Made in 1994 and starring Kate Beckinsale, the film is about an art restorer who uncovers the real story behind a murder while restoring a Flemish master.

It was a great advert for Gaudi's architecture and the city at large.

Last year's hit, The Machinist, staring an emaciated Christian Bale, was also filmed in the city, around the Puerto Olimpico area.

The rumour mill would have it that another major film to be shot in the city will be the adaptation of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's word-of-mouth bestseller The Shadow of the Wind.

But Zafon's agent denied any moves to make a silverscreen version of the book when contacted by Expatica.


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