Did you unwittingly stumble into Billy Bob Thornton, Naomi Cambell or Rosanna Arquette around Brixton Market in the last few months? Or trip over any tripods, booms or film cameras on Windrush Square?
Forget about Notting Hill, Camden or Trafalgar Square, Brixton is establishing itself as a film location to be reckoned with. “Since we began managing the Lambeth Council Film Office in May 2013, there have been 40 shoots in Brixton,” says Lise Colyer from Filmfixer. She adds, “Brixton Outdoor Market and Brockwell Park are probably the most popular locations, whilst Brixton Academy and the Stockwell Park Estate are also well-liked”.
“Probably the biggest filming we have had so far was in September 2013. This was the ‘Man from Uncle’ which transformed Brixton’s Padfield Road into 1960s Berlin and parked their filming unit in Brockwell Park. It was directed by Guy Ritchie and starred Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Jared Harris and Hugh Grant”, Lise explains.
The use of Brixton in films and advertising campaigns is helping put the area firmly on the map as a versatile location, but, as Lisa points out, it is also helping to open up career avenues for locals. In July, eight unemployed youths managed to secure paid work as marshals on the set of the British crime thriller ‘Legend’ which was filmed around Lambeth. The young people had been trained by local charity Creative Sparkworks through one of their free film courses. According to the Filmfixer website, the youth have now formed its own production unit and are all “busy and paid.” “The people behind ‘Mission Impossible 5’ saw the story and have approached us to hire some Lambeth trainees to their shoot as well,” says Lise.
Brixton also proved to be a springboard for the well-known magician Dynamo, who started his TV career showing off coin tricks to Brixtonites in the middle of Windrush Square.
Then there are the popstrels Little Mix who shot their atmospheric video of ‘Little Me’ on Stockwell Park Estate.
The wide range of upcoming films and TV programmes filmed locally can provide ample viewing opportunities for ‘spot the landmark’ or indeed ‘spot the local’. Lise reels of an impressive list of filming that have taken place in our midst over the last year: “‘London Fields’ starring Billy Bob Thornton, Johnny Depp, Amber Heard and Cara Delevinge was shot in Brixton Market. This is a film adaptation of the Martin Amis novel about a clairvoyant femme fatale with a dark premonition of her impending murder and is due to be released this year”.
She continues, “’Kill Your Friends’ was also filmed in Brixton Market, with Nicholas Hoult, Rosanna Arquette and James Corden. It’s about an A&R man who goes to extremes to find his next hit act and will be out this year. Supermodel Naomi Campbell did a photo shoot in Brixton Market for British Vogue magazine in April and there was a Google commercial filmed in Brixton Market and Coldharbour Lane, which we don’t have a transmission date for yet. Then, at the Lambeth Country Show in July, Tesco was shooting a commercial involving a giant cake, that should be fun!” she laughs.
June was also busy filming-wise, with Michelin chef Tom Kerridge’s ‘Best Ever Dishes’ being shot at Brixton Outdoor Market, and the new series of the ‘Apprentice’ recording vox pops on Brixton Road. Lise tells that ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ filmed in Brixton in March, whilst last September, the new film ‘Squat’, featuring Robert Fucilla and Sarah Armstrong, used Brixton Market, Electric Avenue and Pope’s Road as locations. The film is due out on September 5 so why not check it out and see if you recognise any of the locations? Or better still, do you know of any further films shot on location in Brixton – or did you perhaps feature in any of the shots? Let us know!