The Historic Dockyard Chatham in Kent is the surprising star of Les Misérables the hotly anticipated feature film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel, which is due to open in cinemas on January 11, 2013.

The blockbuster production spent more than 30 days shooting on location in the English regions, eleven of which were spent at the Historic Dockyard Chatham, by far the longest stint at any single location. Scenes were also shot at Boughton House in Northamptonshire, Hampshire’s Winchester College and Portsmouth Naval Base, and at the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire.

Camilla Stephenson, Supervising Location Manager on Les Misérables , said: “People might be surprised to discover that only a tiny portion of our film was actually filmed in France. There are some fantastic locations to be found in our stunning English regions that worked perfectly for our early 19th Century France. Local authorities, councils and residents in each of our several areas couldn’t have been more helpful and enthusiastic and made a difficult job a real pleasure.”

Les Misérables is the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year. The Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production is directed by Academy Award®-winning director, Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) and stars Hugh Jackman, Oscar® winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, with Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption—a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.

Les Misérables is the latest feature film to shoot at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, which has also provided locations for both the Guy Richie/Robert Downey Jnr/Jude Law Sherlock Holmes films, Children of Men, The Golden Compass and Amazing Grace. Television series: Coast, Countryfile, Call the Midwife and Great British Railway Journeys have also used the Dockyard for filming.

The film and television industry is an important one for the English regions as productions can spend up to £30,000 per day on everything from hotels to props to coffee for the stars when filming on location. Feature films alone contributed over £1billion to the UK economy in 2011, a record figure.*

In Kent alone, filming contributed over £2 million to the economy in the last financial year.

Kent County Council’s Film Office and Creative England are proactive in encouraging this investment into Kent and across the English regions.
Creative England aims to be a ‘one stop shop’ for productions on a nationwide basis (outside London), assisting them in finding everything from suitable locations for filming to freelance crew and facilities companies. It also offers a local authority liaison service through its Film Friendly Partnership programme, smoothing the path for film production companies.

Its crew and locations databases is a cornerstone of the service it provides and Creative England is encouraging property owners or managers interested in filming to register their property details.**

A range of properties is sought, from stately homes, grand manor houses and mansions to large family homes, remote farm houses, and country cottages; from coastal properties, industrial mills and factories to sleek city centre offices, apartments and penthouses.

Kaye Elliott, Creative England’s Head of Location and Production Services, said: “It’s great to see England’s diverse countryside showcased in Les Misérables. We have a tremendous variety of locations in the regions and Creative England works hard both to ensure that productions know about these locations, and to facilitate filming requests quickly and efficiently so that we increase the flow of production to these areas. It’s a huge endorsement that we can attract major film projects such as Les Misérables to film in the English regions.”

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