Lights. Camera. Dorset!
It’s not quite Hollywood, but Dorset has been the backdrop to many a blockbuster! Already this year it has made the big screen in Ian McEwan’s ‘On Chesil Beach’ so what other movies get to call Dorset home?
It is a well-known fact that some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain can be found in Dorset. Whether you want dramatic coastlines, sweeping countryside or pretty village scenes the county has the lot. It is little wonder therefore, that film directors have been drawn to Dorset when they need a brilliant location for a movie…
Dorset is Thomas Hardy’s Wessex so it’s hardly surprising that a number of his novel adaptations have been filmed here (with the exception to the 1979 Polanski film ‘Tess’ which was filmed in France!) It has been the backdrop to ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ twice with our own Roger Excell featuring in the latest movie filmed in Sherborne, ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’, and ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ with Gemma Artertan and Eddie Redmayne where the stunning Dancing Ledge in the Purbecks was used to full effect. Gemma Artertan made another appearance in Dorset, filming ‘Tamara Drew’, a reworking of a Hardy novel by Stephen Frears.
Other A-Listers recently in Dorset include Tom Hardy, Harry Styles and Cillian Murphy who were filming Hollywood blockbuster ‘Dunkirk’ in Weymouth Harbour and Swanage. The Symonds & Sampson volleyball team even got a glimpse of them one night after training!
This is not the first time the Jurassic Coast has always been used for Hollywood and it has always been popular with producers and so many fabulous films have been shot at many points along the coastline.
The Cobb in Lyme Regis has provided the backdrop for a number of movies including the 1995 and 2007 adaptations of the Austin classic ‘Persuasion’ but the most famous scene belongs to ‘The French Lieutenants Woman’ with a hooded Meryl Streep looking out to sea. Moving east we hit West Bay and Bridport which has enjoyed the ‘Broadchurch Effect’.
Even the Harry Potter series were not complete with a quick stop in South West Dorset, and the Swannery at Abbotsbury played home to some of the ground around the Weasley’s house in ‘The Half Blood Prince.’
Nip over to Portland to see many of the sights in the ‘The Boat That Rocks’ staring Rhys Ifans, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Kenneth Branagh and Bill Nighy about a pirate radio station in the sixties.
Lulworth Cove has also seen its fair share of celebs. Brad Pitt could be spotted racing up and down whilst filming for ‘World War Z’ in 2012 and the cove doubled up for the Big Sur in California for Kevin Spacey during the filming of Bobby Darin biopic ‘Beyond the Sea’.
The Isle of Purbeck deserves a star on the Hollywood walk of fame having featured in so many films including, ‘Nanny McPhee,’ ‘Mansfield Park’ and ‘Wilde’ starring Stephen Fry and Jude Law.
Some of Dorset’s schools have also made it on to the big screen including Sherborne School in ‘The Imitation Game’ and Clayesmore School in the famous chandelier scene in ‘Only Fools & Horses’.
Perhaps the most surprising name on this list is Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Full Metal Jacket’ about the Vietnam War… due to Kubrick’s fear of flying many scenes were shot in Dorset!
This is just scratching the surface of Dorset’s rich filmography and we can’t wait to see what location might be used next.
So move aside Hollywood and Pinewood studios and make way for Dorset.
If you know of any other film locations that we have missed get in touch!