As the UK buckles up for Steven Spielberg’s new blockbuster Ready Player One, it’s well known that Birmingham saw lots of the filming. But London has to take a little credit to.
Some huge scenes involving 500 cast and crew were shot around Ropemaker Street, Moorfields, Finsbury Street and Moor Lane in Islington, near the City.
You get an idea of the size of the shoot from this publicity shot, of Olivia Cooke and extras, taken at CityPoint on the corner of Ropemaker Street in Islington. And in a huge overnight shoot in Haringey, no less than 17 Tottenham locals landed work as marshals.
FilmFixer manages the film office service for Islington and Haringey. FilmFixer director Karen Everett explains, “The scale of the shoot can’t be overstated. We were delighted to make sure it was possible at these locations. Take a look at the trailer.
“CityPoint is a well-loved location for big shoots needing slick office buildings and roads that are wide enough to handle stunts. Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange filmed there, for example just a couple of years ago.
“Ready Player One filmed over a day, one weekend in September 2016, with a vast number of extras, wearing the video game goggles we all know feature in the film. In the driving stunts around the area, the cars eventually mounted the plaza at CityPoint. Actors with guns jumped out of a van and ran into CityPoint building.
“There was a lot to coordinate and police consent was needed for the stunts and use of fake weapons.
“To thank Islington, the production made a donation to the Word Festival.”
By contrast, the more modest Fontayne Road in Tottenham, Haringey, also did its bit for the film.
Karen Everett continues, “In September 2016 200 cast and crew took over this small street in Tottenham to film throughout the night. It involved many residents to make this possible.
“The production hired out the The Arches music studio, the dance studio, they hired out some homes for lighting positions, and parking from local businesses like the car repair shop, gym and local council offices.
“Two residents who had an early start at work the next day were put up at hotels near their workplaces, taxis and travel cards were provided. And we were delighted that 17 locals found themselves up close and personal, working as marshals on the shoot. It’s really important that locals are invited to participate when filming is going on right at their doorstep.”
The production’s assistant location manager Sarah Kate Lewis adds, “We did make a concerted effort to get local residents involved with the shoot on Fontayne Road.
“Because we filmed at night we were aware of the disruption we might cause, so we did offer hotel rooms to anyone who wanted to stay away, and we had location managers on the ground prior to filming to meet everyone who might be affected.
“We had to move cars and get all the paperwork in to have traffic holds on the road within record time.
“On the night, we marshalled the area heavily using a mixture of experienced film marshals, security and locals to make sure that residents could come and go from their houses or from work as needed.
“We felt that overall we had a fabulous reaction from locals, many of whom are artists and creatives themselves, who came together as a community to support us and the filming. We really couldn’t have done it without them and we were thrilled to have been able to “borrow” the fabulous architecture and spirit of Fountayne Road for Ready Player One!”
Karen Everett finishes, “Ready Player One is shaping up to be a very big deal, and we’re delighted that locals in Haringey will be able to say ‘I was there’.”