Why A-List Hollywood Went to London -- and Skipped the Olympics

Brad Pitt Sunglasses - P 2012
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Brad Pitt Sunglasses - P 2012

Brad Pitt, Penélope Cruz, Michael Fassbender and Chris Pine among the big names in the British capital to shoot Hollywood backed movies.

LONDON – The stars may not have been seen at the London 2012 Olympics because they're working in the British capital with Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Vin DieselPaul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Cameron Diaz, Nicolas Cage, Javier Bardem, Aaron Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz all in projects shooting here.

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Government-backed agency Film London listed the names at an evening event co-hosted with the mayor of London and London and Partners against the backdrop of the "Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style," an exhibition which celebrates one of London’s most famous film exports, James Bond.

Film London chief executive Adrian Wootton listed Fast and Furious 6, Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan and Kick-Ass 2 as among the high-profile titles filming or set to shoot in and around the British capital.

According to Wootton and his team, Fast and Furious 6 starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson began shooting here last week.

Producer Neal H. Moritz, whose credits include the successful The Fast & The Furious franchise, The Green Hornet and Jack the Giant Killer (also partly London-shot), attended the evening event to outline some of the ambitious and dramatic set pieces taking in iconic London locations including King's Cross, Wembley and Canary Wharf.

“We’re excited to bring the next chapter of The Fast & The Furious franchise to one of the world’s most amazing cities,” said Moritz. “The locations that are available only in London play an integral part of our story, and we’re grateful to the people of the city for welcoming the production as we film here.”

Scott is also in London in production on The Counselor, with Pitt, Fassbender, Cruz, Diaz and Bardem.

Film London has been supporting the film which is shooting in the capital during the Olympics Games.

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Executive producer Mark Huffam (Prometheus) said: “Film London’s support has been invaluable in our negotiations with landmark locations in the capital and we are grateful for their assistance in ensuring the smooth running of the shoot during the Olympic Games.”

Following his performance in the Opening ceremony of the Games, Branagh will be in the capital to direct Jack Ryan, which stars Pine (Star Trek) in the thriller being produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld.

And cast members Johnson, Moretz and Cage are also set to reunite for Kick-Ass 2, the sequel to Kick Ass, which will begin shooting in the capital later this year.

Harry Potter franchise cast member Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) and Josh Berger, president and managing director of Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain, also rocked up at the event to trumpet the experience of filming in London, and about the studio’s permanent production base, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden,

home to all eight Harry Potter films, and the capital’s newest tourist attraction, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, taking a break from the Olympics and tweeting about British athletic success said: "London has an incomparable film heritage -- from Hitchcock to Harry Potter via Hammer and Harold Shand, this city has been home to some of the greatest and most beloved films of all time. And thanks to the unique opportunities for film-makers, including a world-class roster of talent in front of and behind the camera, and amazing locations that are recognisable the world over, we are delighted that more and more productions are deciding to set up shop in London."

The mayor also noted the film industry in and around London supports 70,000 jobs and generates nearly £1 billion ($1.56 bilion) of spending each year, "providing a fantastic boost to our economy."

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Wootton said: "With the success of the Olympics we have an incredible platform to build on and Film London is working to ensure we keep the momentum up and continue to drive vital investment into the UK, through film and TV production."

Other films also in various stages of production in Blighty include Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie based in Pinewood Studios and Richard CurtisAbout Time, starring Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson.

Dom Hemingway, starring Jude Law and Richard E. Grant, is also one of several other big budget films in pre production.