|Buxton's movie boom|
|Tuesday, 13 July 2010 07:51|
The town has recently enjoying a key supporting role in BBC Films’ latest period blockbuster. Steve Caddy reports...
BUXTON businesses are thanking their lucky stars for the movie makers’ ongoing love affair with Peak District costume dramas.
Chatsworth and Haddon Hall are once again providing the perfect backdrop for a lavish period adaptation. But Buxton has been taking a major supporting role – as home-from-home for actors and film crew.
Up-and-coming American director Cary Fukunaga is filming a new version of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska (the new Alice in Wonderland), Michael Fassbender as Mr Rochester and Dame Judi Dench.
Filming has taken over six weeks, involving around 200 cast, crew and support staff. They needed a base – and Buxton fitted the bill.
“It’s a good location within an easy drive of everywhere you need to be,” says Ian Thomson, publicist for producers Ruby Films. “There have been a lot of us in town and we’ve been very warmly welcomed. We’ve been making life busy for an awful lot of restaurants.”
Not that local businesses are complaining. Higher Buxton restaurant Nat’s Kitchen has built up a regular clientele of movie diners. Says chef and owner Todd Carroll: “We’ve been getting tables of ten in, three or four times a week, and it’s not unusual for them to spend £500.”
Julian Probets has also been busy in his Cupcake Boutique since producer Alison Owen – mother of singer Lily Allen – popped in at the start of filming.
“Not long after, I was just leaving at 7pm when I got a phone call asking if they could order 100 cupcakes for the next day!” he says.
The film’s director too has become a regular customer: “He comes in every Sunday at the same time, sits at the same table and orders a pot of tea and a walnut cake.”
The boutique was also asked to supply a birthday cake for actor Michael Fassbender.
But local eating establishments are not the only places to be called upon by the movie crowd. Optometrist Steven Pickering, who owns Buxton’s Vision Express store with wife Claire, has been out on set in the Derbyshire hills.
“The actress playing the young Jane Eyre has to use contact lenses to make her eyes appear dark. They needed someone to fit them and stay on set to make sure there weren’t any problems,” he says.
Steven was called in again to fit black contact lenses to Mr Rochester for a nightmare dream sequence. With more calls on his service, he has become an on-set regular: “It’s been fantastic to go behind the scenes and watch what goes on,” he says. “I’ve been told that they’ll add my name to the credits and Claire and I have been invited to the premiere in London.”
The filming has boosted Buxton’s accommodation sector, with the Palace and Old Hall among those to benefit. But the biggest impact has been felt at the Chateau and Wye House serviced apartments, where the entire premises have been taken over by the director, actors and key members of the team.
It has become a working headquarters during the filming, with footage reviewed on the Latis Bar’s giant plasma screens. The owners were also asked to provide a high-capacity broadband link between Buxton and Los Angeles.
“We set up a secure feed so they could send over the film edits,” says partnerTom Law. “It’s been quite an education. They work very long hours, often leaving here at six in the morning and not getting back until after eight at night.
“This place has been perfect for them, providing them with the privacy they need, and it’s obviously great for us. Hopefully we’ll get some repeat business!”
Article contributed by Pure Buxton