South Africa has become a favourite destination for film production crews shooting on location over the last few years. But while Cape Town and its environs have been used for top advertising shoots and stills productions for many years, it is comparatively recently that the big movie productions have started using South Africa regularly as a prime setting for movies starring big box office attractions such as Halle Berry, Denzel Washington and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The latest movie to be filmed in South Africa is Safe House, still in post-production phase and due for release in February 2012. It stars Denzel Washington as a rogue ex-agent, Ryan Reynolds as the CIA agent protecting him and much of it is filmed on location in and around the streets of Cape Town with plenty of thrilling action sequences along the scenic coast roads too.
Halle Berry has also been in Cape Town recently filming Dark Tide, a thriller about a diving instructor and close encounters with sharks. Filmed in Simon’s Town in the chilly Cape winter, Halle Berry still manages to sport a bikini despite the cold. The film is still in post-production and is set to be released towards the end of 2011.
A big hit despite featuring local unknowns, District 9, released in 2009, made headlines as one of the first South African film productions to make it big internationally. While the setting of urban decay, and theme of aliens segregated by an unsympathetic government, is unlikely to bring tourists flocking, the production was great news for the South African film industry.
Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and released in 2006, was filmed mostly in South Africa, despite being set in Sierra Leone, mostly because of the superior infrastructure available here supporting this size of film production.
Rumours are currently rife about the next James Bond film being filmed in South Africa. Carte Blanche, which is Jeffrey Deaver’s newly launched Bond novel, is set in and around Cape Town for much of its story and speculation has it being filmed next year for release the following year. However this is an unconfirmed rumour, though exciting for Cape Town film buffs and for the potential boost to the tourist industry that could well come from the reflected glamour of 007 enjoying cocktails, shaken not stirred, in top Cape Town hotels!
All in all, South Africa and in particular Cape Town are well on the map when it comes to the international film industry, with world-class infrastructure supporting these mega productions.