The A-list cast is in place, the crew and cameras are organised and the location secured.
But the producers of Louis Wain, a big-budget movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy, are facing an unusual problem – an illegal gipsy camp has sprung up just where they plan to shoot vital scenes.
Four weeks of filming for the biopic, which tells the story of Wain, a Victorian-era artist famous for his drawings of cats, are due to start in the coastal town of Deal in Kent tomorrow.
Producers have hired a privately owned bed and breakfast property called Coast House, pictured above, for the duration of the Kent shoot and plan to film inside the Regency house, which is located about 150 yards from the travellers’ camp
But about 15 caravans, several vans and at least two trucks were recently parked on Walmer Green, an area of grassland owned by Dover District Council close to a stretch of shingle beach where scenes are due to be shot.
Since the arrival of the travellers, the area has become strewn with rubbish and debris.
A source involved in the filming said: ‘The location manager knows about it and is livid. Where the travellers are situated will be a backdrop in some scenes. Unless the travellers are moved on quickly, it could throw everything into chaos.’
The travellers, who arrived shortly before last weekend’s Bank Holiday, are thought to be part of a larger group who had previously set up camp in Margate about 11 miles to the north.
The producers of Louis Wain, a big-budget movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy, are facing an unusual problem – an illegal gipsy camp has sprung up just where they plan to shoot vital scenes
It is understood that Cumberbatch, who is playing Wain, and Foy – cast as the artist’s wife, Emily – are due to be on set in Deal for one week during filming, which will involve using expensive cameras and equipment on location.
The cast also includes such famous names as Toby Jones, Andrea Riseborough and Julian Barratt. Some scenes were shot in London last month.
Producers have hired a privately owned bed and breakfast property called Coast House for the duration of the Kent shoot and plan to film inside the Regency house, which is located about 150 yards from the travellers’ camp.
Owner Bernard Thomson, 65, said: ‘I’ve spoken to the producers and know how concerned they are. I think they chose the area because it is relatively unchanged since the Victorian era.
They plan to shoot scenes featuring a horse-drawn carriage close to the beach. I doubt very much that they will want to see a load of white caravans in the background.
Four weeks of filming for the biopic, which tells the story of Wain, a Victorian-era artist famous for his drawings of cats, are due to start in the coastal town of Deal in Kent tomorrow
‘Hiring extra security is already being looked into. The council should have acted far more quickly to get rid of the travellers, who seem to be able to ride roughshod over everyone. The area is gaining a reputation among film-makers who bring a lot of money to the area.’
Parish councillor Peter St Ange, who runs the Sea Cafe a little further along the coast, said: ‘I knew nothing about the filming, but I do know the camp has upset a lot of people in the area.’
It is unlikely the travellers are aware of the potential problem their site poses, as filming has been kept a closely guarded secret. Last night, none of its residents wished to comment.
A spokesman for Louis Wain Productions, the company set up to make the movie which is backed by Film4 and due to be released by Studiocanal next year, said: ‘We are very aware of the situation but have absolutely no comment to make.’
Dover District Council said: ‘We are working with our partners at Kent Police and English Heritage regarding travellers in the Deal and Walmer area.
‘We are following due legal process and have served notice on travellers at Walmer Green to vacate the site.’
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