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LONDON – Meryl Streep‘s upcoming film, Suffragette, about women’s quest for equal voting rights in the early 20th century, will be the first commercial film to shoot in the U.K. Houses of Parliament.
British members of Parliament have approved an application by the movie’s backers to shoot footage in the historic and instantly recognizable central London government facility.
No commercial filming has previously been staged in the historic chambers, with producers resorting to constructing them as film sets instead.
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Carey Mulligan co-stars in the film, which was written by The Iron Lady‘s Abi Morgan and is being directed by Sarah Gavron. Suffragette will film in Parliament over the Easter recess.
Film London and British Film Commission chief executive Adrian Wootton, whose many duties include championing the British capital and its treasure trove of historic sites as filming destinations, is delighted with the news.
“This unique location promises to attract more production to the capital, and by working with the industry and our partners, we will help ensure it can get the most out of filming, while protecting the integrity of this very special building,” Wootton said. “And I look forward to seeing it on screen in the star-studded Suffragette, which will be a fantastic showcase of British talent, behind and in front of the camera, and this very special new location.”
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Streep stars as pioneering votes-for-women campaigner Emmeline Pankhurst while Mulligan plays Maud, one of the early Women’s Social and Political Union members.
Helena Bonham Carter, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw also star.
The Commons authorities have opted to allow the filming of Suffragette as a pilot, with the added advantage of raising revenue for the buildings and cutting costs for the film’s producers.
Alan Haselhurst, chairman of the cross-party administration committee, told The Sun that the move opened a “respectable source of income” for Parliament.
French-owned Pathe is partnering with Film4, the stand-alone movie-making arm of U.K. broadcaster Channel 4, and the British Film Institute’s movie fund to back the Ruby Films project due for release in 2015.
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