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That’s a Wrap!

24 Jan

This post is the first one in a very long time and I write it with a certain melancholy.

Like with all movies and TV series, after months of planning, preparation, research, location scouting and filming, comes the last day of shooting and with it, the director’s final words: “That’s a wrap!”

After writing almost every week for the first 14-15 months, 2015 was a fairly quiet affair. During the first part of the year, although some posts were ready on paper, I did not have a computer. Then, when back online and roaring to go, I was offered the opportunity to move abroad for an internal promotion… and I spent August packing. End of September, after 15 years in the UK and the last 6 in Islington, I took my suitcases and head off to Spain!

I will publish the few posts drafted early 2015 but after that it will be tricky to carry on from Spain and not being able to walk around Islington to take pictures. Talking of which, the Islington Film Locations Map will now be opened to everyone who knows and wishes to share with us an Islington film location. I hope to see this map growing and growing.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by at some point, followed the blog, enjoyed it and commented on it! You never know what the future may have in mind and maybe we’ll have a Lights, Camera…Islington! sequel in a few years time but for now, it is …So long, farewell, au revoir, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!

To Islington with Love, Xavier

4 Weddings & Funeral - Highbury Terrace - Final Kiss - FILM

 

 

 

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Michelle Williams spotted in St John’s Street

14 Aug

A few weeks ago we saw how Northampton Square, the Brunswick Estate and Emberton Court in particular as well as City University had taken centre stage in Incendiary (2008), a movie about the aftermath of a suicide bombing at a North London football ground, starring starring Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams.

Since they both live around Northampton Square, it is almost normal that another scene, an everyday one for that matter, ended up being shot nearby.

Towards the end of the movie, Michelle Williams, the young mother who has lost husband and son in the terrorist attack can be seen popping to her local food shop.

When she steps out, she meets the child she has befriended since losing hers with his mother: the son and widow of the suicide bomber. There, she realises that the son she had kept alive in her head is no more, and rushes towards her flat in Emberton Court.

Such scene was shot in a place familiar to many residents and students: the row of shops and fast-food restaurants in St John’s Street, opposite Finsbury Library. The Library can be spotted very briefly when the camera faces the mother and her child, the food shop, the ‘Food & Wine’ shop at the corner of St John’s Street and Wyclif Street and the fast-food restaurants can be recognise more easily.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 14

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 15

Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 02

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 16

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 17

Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 01

Fade Out

 Related Incendiary post

Northampton Square: Home of Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams

 

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

St John’s Street EC1V 4PE

Angel Tube Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to 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 LightsCameraIslington(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

Cowcross Street: Jude Law lives Closer than you think

10 Apr

In our first post on Closer (2004), we left Dan (Jude Law) and Alice (Natalie Portman) outside Anna’s studio (Julia Roberts) in Westland Place, off City Road. We find Alice and Dan back in Islington later on in the movie.

After heartbreaks, affairs, and a few arguments along the way, Alice and Dan are eventually back together. However, one evening, as Dan keeps asking Alice the same question, the couple argues. In the end, Dan apologies and goes to make tea. While in the kitchen, Alice disappears.

When he realises it, he runs down the stairs behind her only to find out that she has vanished in the night.

The first shot we see from Jude Law outside his flat does not tell us much. We primarily see him, in the dark, with an open door behind him.

Closer - Cowcross Street - FILM 01

Closer - Cowcross Street - MRX 01

However, the following one, from a different angle, allows us to recognise the Victorian structure of Smithfield Market which is all lit up. Yes, Ladies & Gents, Jude Law lives in Cowcross Street!

Closer - Cowcross Street - FILM 02

Closer - Cowcross Street - MRX 02

That’s the Wrap!

This post is our last one on Closer but if you know otherwise, please do let me know.

 

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

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Cowcross Street EC1M 6DR

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

Barbican Tube Station (Zone 1)

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

Myddelton Square’s Week with Meryl Streep

27 Mar

Today I was due to talk to you about a film shot in Myddelton Square and outside St Mark’s Church. I had it all planned for months, set in stone in my blog calendar: Thursday 27th March, Myddelton Square, The End of the Affair (1999) with Julianne Moore and Ralf Fiennes.

Hummm… maybe not. Let’s put it this way, we will still visit Myddelton Square and St Mark’s Church but for the time being we’ll forget about Julianne More and Ralf Fiennes. All this because I realised a few weeks ago that although I had drafted the text, selected the pictures from the movie, I was actually missing those from the location itself! As a result, making the most of a sunny afternoon, I made my way to yet another beautiful square of our borough.

As I arrived Myddelton Square some familiar yellow signs grabbed my attention.

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 01

Well, well, well…Parking spaces booked …for Filming…24 to 26 March… How interesting…

Back home, I started searching the Internet for any information I could possibly get. Eventually, some light at the end of the tunnel:  Suffragette…Biopic on Emmeline Pankhurst… First film to get permission to shoot inside Houses of Parliament…Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, Ben Whishaw, not bad, not bad…MERYL STREEP? Oh oh oh…Now we’re talking.

Islington has had its fair share of Oscar and BAFTA winning movies and stars as we have seen on our blog, but this was different: filming was taking place on our doorsteps within days!

Another cause for celebration maybe is not only the fact that the shooting and such cast were coming to Islington this week, but also that Ruby Film and Television, an Islington based production company, based a stone’s throw from Myddelton Square, is behind such project. Although Islington Film Studios (later Gainsborough Studios) and Highbury Studios have long gone, Islington’s cinema industry is still going strong!

Ruby Film & TV Offices

Ruby Film & Television Offices

My initial excitement was short lived. The 24th, 25th and 26th March were all weekdays, i.e. workdays. I enlisted the help (and camera) of LadyPinkLondon who already contributes to this blog and who went to Myddelton Square during her spare time.

We are proud to present, ‘exclusively for the readers of Lights, Camera Islington!’ some behind the scenes pictures of what has been going on this week in Islington. This should keep you going until the release of Suffragette in 2015.

 

Before

Myddelton Square Before…

 and After!

and After!

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 02

Setting the scene

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 06

Banners for the Suffragettes being delivered

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 09

A few vintage cars

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 08

a Police van

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 07

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 04

Lights ready and THE balcony…

And the Oscar goes to…

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 10

An Oscar ‘Made in Islington’ for Meryl?

Finally, some cast and suffragettes having a well deserved break between scenes

 

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 13

 

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 11

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 18

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 14 15 16

Selfie Time - Sadly no Meryl on this one!

Selfie Time – Sadly no Meryl on this one!

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 20

Extras outside St Mark’s Church

 

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 19

St Mark’s Church

CALL OUT: You live or work on Myddelton Square or nearby? You got involved in the shooting in one way or another? Maybe as an Extra or as a location? Was Meryl standing on your balcony? Carey outside your house? Should you be happy to share your experience with Lights, Camera…Islington!, we would LOVE to hear from you!

Fade Out

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

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Myddelton Square EC1R 1XP

Angel Tube Station (Zone 1)

King’s Cross Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Angel, Pentonville Road, Rosebery Avenue and St John’s Street

 

Clerkenwell Close: A Fish Called Wanda Returns

20 Feb

 As promised in November we are back for more A Fish Called Wanda adventures, with the sequel of Fishy Wanda on the Run.

As you may remember, we had seen how George, Ken and Otto (Georgeson, Palin, Kline) having just carried out a heist in Hatton Gardens, made their way to Clerkenwell Green where Wanda (Curtis) was waiting for them in a getaway car. We left them vanishing towards Farringdon Road.

One may assume that they would want to go as far away as possible surely. You would not expect to find them just around the corner, would you? Well, that’s exactly what they did!

In the next scene, our culprits swap cars. They can be seen stopping their car in an alleyway, running down a flight of steps where another car is waiting for them, getting rid of potential clues not to mentioned Wanda’s moustache.

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 01

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 02

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 03

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 04

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 05

All this was shot within yards of the previous scene in Clerkenwell Green: They leave their car on Robert’s Place, off Bowling Green Lane and get down the steps to reach Clerkenwell Close.

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - MRX 01

While they change cars, a police one passes by coming from Pear Tree Court and rushing towards Clerkenwell Green.

 A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 06

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - MRX 02

If you look at our Islington Film Locations Map, you will be able to see how close both scenes were shot.

Interestingly, as part of the promotional material used ahead of the release was a photo of the four actors posing in front of the car in Robert’s Place. Not quite as obvious as the Houses of Parliament or Tower Bridge but there you go: Shot in Islington!

A Fish Called Wanda - Lobby Card

Publicity picture for the release of the film

While George, Otto and Wanda are off in their new car, Ken gets on a motorbike.

Will we come across our culprits in Islington again? Probably, and closer than you may think…To be continued!

Fade Out

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

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Clerkenwell Close EC1R 0AY

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon Road and Mount Pleasant

Related Article:

Clerkenwell Green: Fishy Wanda on the Run

Farringdon Station: Vendetta on the Way

9 Jan

Countless films shot in London feature its famous and instantly recognisable underground stations be it the corridors, carriages, ticket halls, exits or familiar London transport signs. Such scenes, no matter how brief they may be, allow the spectators to relate to those familiar sitesand at the same time act as ‘establishing shots’: in a blink of an eye, we know where we are.

I am pleased to say that Islington’s tube and train stations have enjoyed their fair share of spotlight.

In the science-fiction thriller V for Vendetta (2005), by the late 2020s Great Britain is a fascist state. One freedom fighter known as V (Hugo Weaving) fights this oppressive society and threatens to blow up the Houses of Parliament on 5th November, as attempted by Guy Fawkes in 1605. In doing this, he meets a young woman called Evey (Natalie Portman).

Before Islington appears on the screen, the borough is mentioned at the very beginning of the movie. While Evey is getting ready to go out, the TV is on and presenter Lewis Prothero (Roger Allam) warns his viewers about the situation in the USA and how similar it is to the one faced by Great Britain years ago “(…) Islington, Enfield, I was there, I have seen it all (…)”.

However, the first time we get to properly spot Islington is later on when Evey tells V about her childhood. While she talks about the death of her brother, her parents’ political engagement, we can see her as a young Evey (Madeleine Rakic-Platt) handing leaflets out outside Farringdon Station.

 V for Vendetta - Farringdon Tube Station - FILM

 

V for Vendetta - Farringdon Tube Station - MRX

Since many scenes of V for Vendetta were shot across Islington we will have the opportunity to get back  to it!

Fade Out

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

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Farringdon Road

In Great Sutton Street Christmas is All Around, Actually

19 Dec

Switching on the Lights, Advent Calendars, Christmas cards, the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, Ice-rinks blossoming across London, Selfridge’s Christmas windows, Christmas jumpers… In case you hadn’t notice the Christmas frenzy is upon us.

It is precisely 10 years since rom-com expert Richard Curtis, already behind Four Weddings and a Funeral, masterminded another one of his little gem: Love Actually (2003).

Using a tried and tested recipe, Love Actually tells us the story of interrelated characters and couples dealing with their love lives in the madness that is the run up to Christmas. To do this, Curtis brought together a plethora of British actors such as Emma Thomson, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Billy Nighy, Rowan Atkinson to name but a few, and not forgetting his trusted accomplice Hugh Grant. All this wrapped up in a well-crafted soundtrack and song selection…Bingo! Ten years on cinemas around the UK reprogram the movie while radio stations blast away Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is You.

One item missing from my list above, as you may have noticed, is the sacrosanct office Christmas party. Hate it or love it, this event is an untouchable part of office life, as regular as clockwork. Which is just as well in the present case.

In Love Actually, Harry (Alan Rickman) asks his flirty PA Mia (Heike Makatsch) to find a venue for such party. One of Mia’s friend runs an Art Gallery on the South Bank and this is where the event will take place. Well, sorry to say Richard but this did not fool Lights, Camera…Islington!  The ‘South Bank’ gallery isn’t on the South Bank at all but…in Great Sutton Street, off St John’s Street!

Love Actually - Art Gallery - Day - FILM

Love Actually - Art Gallery - FILM

In the movie we mainly see the inside of the gallery but we get a quick chance  to spot it first by day, and then on the night of the Christmas party.

Love Actually - Art Gallery - MRX

On this Christmassy note, we would like to wish you all, all the best for the festive season.

Fade Out

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

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Great Sutton Street EC1V 0DX

Barbican Tube Station (Zone 1)

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

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

Clerkenwell Green: Fishy Wanda on the Run

21 Nov

A heist-comedy co-written by, and starring John Cleese, fellow Monty Python’s star Michael Palin, Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis looked to have all the ingredients for success when it was premiered. Indeed, within weeks A Fish Called Wanda (1988) became an enormous critical and commercial success, scooping numerous awards along the way.

In London, George (Tom Georgeson) has a plan. Together with Ken (Michael Palin), Otto (Kevin Kline) and Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) they join forces to commit a multi-million pound jewellery heist. After their success, they all try to double cross each other for the loot, as you would. In her quest, Wanda needs to seduce George’s lawyer, Archie Leach (John Cleese).

We can spot our culprits in Islington when, having carried out their heist in nearby Hatton Garden, they arrive Clerkenwell Green walking to meet Wanda, waiting for them in their getaway car.

A Fish Called Wanda - Waiting Car - FILM

The car is parked on the south side of the Green with the Crown Tavern pub in the distance.

Pause for a second. Although Hatton Garden is fairly close to Clerkenwell Green I am not sure, should I ever consider carrying out a similar robbery, that I might want to walk all the way to Clerkenwell Green before getting into a car…Having said that, it suits us perfectly since, in doing so, they leave behind Camden to enter Islington!

A Fish Called Wanda - Waiting Car - MRX

They jump on the car and here they go – not without nearly running over an old lady and her three Yorkshire Terriers.

Where are they heading? Will they stay in Islington? To be continued…

Fade Out

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

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Clerkenwell Green EC1R 0DU ‎

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

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

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