Archive | July, 2014

Colin Firth House Hunting in Highbury

31 Jul

Barely 2 months have passed since the FA Cup final frenzy, two weeks since the 2014 World Cup Final and yet, Fever Pitch is once again brewing.  With the Emirates Cup taking place this weekend in Islington, a new Premiership season is looming. Let’s hope for Arsenal that it is as successful, if not more, than the last one.

Arsenal Fans around the borough (and worldwide) would have kept an eye on the market transfers, the fixtures calendar, and all the gossips. What would be the ultimate goal for an Arsenal Fan: The Champions League Trophy? A Premier League Title? Retaining the FA Cup?

For most Arsenal fans those would do. For Paul (Colin Firth) however, the ultimate dream is another. A Gunner since he was a kid, he wants to live his passion to the full this means live as close as possible from his family. Having conquered Sarah’s heart (Ruth Gemmell), not so keen on football herself, they look for a place to move in together and Paul has found the perfect house…on Conewood Street, opposite Highbury Stadium, where else?

Fever Pitch - Arsenal Stadium - Main Entrance - FILM 01

Having parked outside the house, they visit it.

Fever Pitch - Colin's House - FILM 02

Fever Pitch - Colin's House - FILM 01

 

Fever Pitch - Colin's House - MRX

Paul is over the moon. Even better, the bedroom windows allows him to keep an eye 24/7 on the Directors’ Entrance !

Fever Pitch - Arsenal Stadium - Main Entrance - FILM 03
Fever Pitch - Arsenal Stadium - Main Entrance - MRX

Sarah is less than impressed and is adamant that, had it been possible, Paul would have moved in Highbury Stadium. Just as well for her that Arsenal Football Club had not yet moved to the Emirates. No doubts that Paul would be looking for a flat in Highbury Stadium Square!

Fade Out

 

Related Fever Pitch posts

Highbury: It’s Fever Pitch around Here

Fever Pitch rises again around Arsenal Station

Night Stroll in Camden Passage for Colin Firth 

 

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Conewood Street N5

Arsenal Tube Station: Piccadilly Line (Zone 2)

Drayton Park Train station

Many buses to Holloway Road station and Highbury Park Road

 

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

 

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Joseph Fiennes and Heather Graham’s Naughty Games in Highbury New Park

24 Jul

This week, Lights, Camera…Islington! is particulary pleased to take you to an area of the borough we have not yet visited. Something quite surprising considering the strong connection to the movies this road has.

In British drama Killing Me Softly (2002) Alice (Heather Graham), is a young American who lives with her boyfriend in London and is happy in her secure and steady job. One day on her way to work she meets Adam (Joseph Fiennes), a well-known mountain climber. A passionate encounter follows that same day. Once back at home she realises that she cannot replicate the same feelings with her boyfriend. Dropping everything for Adam, the two initiate a torrid affair. Adam proposes to Alice and although she is over the moon, she starts receiving a series of calls and notes warning her about her husband’s past.

The film was mainly shot in London, and to our knowledge, there is only one Islington film location in it. Such location can actually be seen a few times in the movie but only for a few seconds each time and from close ups, making it hard to spot it. We are referring to Adam’s house where Alice comes time and time again for their intense encounters.

Killing Me Softly - 59 Highbury New Park - FILM 01

Killing Me Softly - 59 Highbury New Park - FILM 02

We will probably never know if the interiors of Adam’s house were filmed on location or in a studio but the steps and front door of his house can be seen at the South end of …Highbury New Park!

Killing Me Softly - 59 Highbury New Park - MRX

In fact, this quiet and leafy Islington street looks beyond suspicion. Who could possibly imagine what Joseph Fiennes and Heather Graham were up to behind closed doors (if you forget the  20+ crew around them that is!)

More interestingly maybe is the fact that Adam’s house is only yards from what was once the home of Highbury Studios.  Film and TV Studios since 1933, they were acquired by the Rank Organisation in 1945 but would eventually be demolished in 1960. Next to those, in a disused church hall, was a training school, The Company of Youth, also known as the Rank Charm School.

If the studios and school are no longer here, many of the young actors who trained at such school made a name for themselves…Christopher Reeve or Joan Collins to name but two. So when a twenty-year-old Joan Collins stepped out of Holloway Women’s Prison in 1953’s Turn the Key Softly she was only minutes away from her school!

Fade Out

 

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Highbury New Park N5 2ET

Canonbury Overground Station (Zone 2)

Highbury and Islington Station (Zone 2)

Buses to Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury New Park and Highbury Corner

 

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

Northampton Square: Home of Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams

17 Jul

When starting Lights, Camera… Islington! a few months ago, I made the conscious decision to concentrate on the borough. In doing so I was aware that I would only be mentioning a few scenes from each movie. Three, four or five at best with movies such as Happy-Go-Lucky, Notes on a Scandal or Fever Pitch, more often than not just the one. What I had not anticipated was to find a full length feature movie shot primarily in Islington, and where most scenes were filmed around one square or within yards from it!

Despite boosting a promising cast (Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor and Matthew Macfadyen), and being directed by Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones’s Diary), Incendiary (2008) did not hit the headlines.

In fairness, the subject and the timing (the 7/7 London bombings still fresh in people’s mind), probably did not help. Based on a book of the same name, Incendiary depicts the aftermath of a suicide bombing at a North London football ground on a May Day derby game.

A young unhappy and adulterous wife (Michelle Williams) lives in a big estate with her husband and kid. Her life is torn apart when they are both killed by a suicide bombing during an Arsenal football game while she was with her lover, Jasper (Ewan McGregor), a journalist.

Islington appears on screen from the first moment: the opening shot showing huge blocks of flats before descending towards smaller houses. We are in Northampton Square and the blocks of flats are part of the Brunswick Estate.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 01

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 02

Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX

However, probably for contract reasons, in the film, when the young mother meets Jasper for the first time, she says that she lives at the Wellington estate.

Him: Are you from around here?

Her: Over there, the Wellington estate.

Him: That’s right opposite me. I can see the Wellington estate from my place.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 20

Indeed, the two of them live around Northampton Square hence why many scenes are shot in this specific area of Islington.

At various stages of the movie we can spot the path and row of garages leading to Northampton Square. For example. coming back from shopping or when heading towards the Arsenal Football Club game.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 07

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 08

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 11 Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 03

 

Emberton Court, where the family leaves, is easily recognisable thanks to the mosaic by the entrance:

 When Jasper comes to visit her,

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 13

when Terrence (Matthew Macfadyen), her husband’s boss, comes to meet her after the accident or, again,

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 12

when the young mother looks for her son, convinced he is still alive.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 18

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 19  Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 04

Similarly, Northampton Square features a number of times in the movie:

When she sees Jasper getting home late with a date from her window although, technically speaking, she could not possibly see his front door from her flat!

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 04

When Jasper gets into his car parked on Northampton Square,

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 03

and when her husband and kid on the way to the game stop to look at Jasper’s car.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 09

Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 06

When she talks to Jasper on her way back from shopping, and when she leaves, we can recognise the bandstand in the centre of Northampton Square and the red structure of City University.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 10

Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 09

The final scene is also set up on Northampton Square. This time from another angle, where City University stands in for an hospital. Jasper is seating on a bench while behind him a direction sign has been put up and extras in nurse uniform walk.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 21

Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 11

Finally, when he stands up and starts running the camera zooms out and we can see the square quite clearly.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 22

A lot happening within a small perimeter as you can see. As for Ewan McGregor’s character, I am not sure he did study journalism at City University. Interestingly I believe the director, Sharon Maguire, is a City University alumni and did a postgraduate in journalism there!

Fade Out

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Northampton Square EC1V 0HB

Angel Tube Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Goswell Road and St John’s Street

 

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

At St John’s Gate, the clues you’ll get

10 Jul

This week, Lights, Camera…Islington! is back in Clerkenwell on the lookout for the A Fish Called Wanda (1988) gang.

We already saw that while the robbery was going on in Hatton Garden Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) was waiting for the gang in a getaway car on Clerkenwell Green, and how shortly afterwards they swapped cars on Clerkenwell Close before vanishing.

However, to make it the perfect robbery our culprits had to make sure that no clues remained behind them, in particular Wanda’s fake moustache! And this is where Ken (Michael Palin) came in. When Wanda & Co. leave Clerkenwell Close in a car, Ken gets on a motorbike and with the bin bag to get rid of.

Before you know it, he rides under St John’s Gate and throws the bag into a skip.

A Fish Called Wanda - Moto Escape - FILM

Originally built in 1504, the Gate was the south entrance to the inner precinct of the Priory of the Knights of Saint John. Quite a stunning structure, St John’s Gate was selected to represent Islington for the London 2012 Games.

Since you are there you might as well visit the Museum of the Order of St John.

A Fish Called Wanda - Moto Escape - MRX

As you can see, the 3 sequences we talked about were all shot within yards of each other, and probably on the same day!

That’s the Wrap!

With this post we say goodbye to A Fish Called Wanda in Islington, unless you do happened to know otherwise. In which case feel free to let us know!

Fade Out

 

Related A Fish Called Wanda posts

Clerkenwell Green: Fishy Wanda on the Run

Clerkenwell Close: A Fish Called Wanda Returns

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

St John’s Gate EC1M 4DN

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon Road and St John’s Street

 

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

At Highbury Corner, Keep Your Lane! #Enraha

3 Jul

This week we are staying in the same neck of the woods than last week, literally yards from it.

In our last Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) post, On Holloway Road Mind the Driving Instructor, we left Poppy (Sally Hawkins) and Scott (Eddie Marsan) in the middle of a major discussion while at one of Islington’s busiest junction: Tollington Road, turning right onto Holloway Road towards Archway.

Logically we would be spotting them on their way to, or nearby, Archway… Maybe they did go towards Archway. Maybe they didn’t. Only Mike Leigh, his crew and the actors would be able to enlighten us here.

The truth is that, in the next shots we can still see Scott driving on Holloway Road, but going towards…Highbury Corner!

Then, while he explains to Poppy how to keep in lane in roundabouts we can quickly spot:

Local businesses Mc Donald’s and The White Swan pub,

Happy Go Lucky - Highbury Corner - FILM 01

a car waiting to exit Highbury Station Road,

Happy Go Lucky - Highbury Corner - FILM 03

and the pedestrian crossing between the Highbury Corner Post Office (now gone), and Highbury Place.

Happy Go Lucky - Highbury Corner - FILM 02

Scott then turns left heading back to Holloway Road.

Not from a car but…here is a picture of Highbury Corner soon to be improved.

Happy Go Lucky - Highbury Corner - MRX

Fade Out

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Highbury Corner N1 1RY

Highbury and Islington Station (Zone 2)

Many buses to Highbury Corner

 

Related Happy-Go-Lucky posts

Mountgrove Road: A Vintage Sally Hawkins Lived Here

On Holloway Road, Mind the Driving Instructor 

 

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

 

 

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