Hollywood Comes to Hatfield

Welwyn Hatfield Times, 27 September 2012
By Ewan Foskett

Michigan and Hatfield may seem worlds apart but a film crew transformed a corner of the town into a dead ringer for Detroit for one day.

The movie makers descended on the High View shops and St Johns church today (Thursday) to shoot scenes for a new espionage thriller with the town masquerading as Dearborn a city in the metropolitan district of Motor City.

Director Kenneth Branagh was spotted on the set of the Jack Ryan film thought to be called Maryland although the stars of the film Keira Knightley, Chris Pine and Kevin Costner were nowhere to be seen.

The lack of A-listers did not disappoint residents and shop keepers with many telling The WHT how happy they were to see Hollywood on their doorstep.

Awad Alnashash, a barber at Just4Men, said: Its really good. Im actually quite excited, I like to see how they make films I always watch things on TV and YouTube and now I can see it happening its really interesting.

Shops near Just4Men had been made over to appear American with the pharmacy, The One Stop shop and Wot-nots charity shop all getting a face lift.

Project manager Olwyn Buchta said: This shop is 13 years old, we took it over in 2000 and we could not move in for three or four days because Lee Evans and Kathy Burke were filming here, but nothing has happened like that since. The signs outside were amazing and i think it is good for business.

The majority of action on Thursday morning was centred around the church with scenes shot inside the building. Ken Lax, committee member at the church, said: We didnt find out long ago, it was about five or six weeks ago. It is really good not just for here but for Hatfield as a whole.

The film is inspired by the bestselling novels of US author Tom Clancy. Movie industry insiders believe it will turn the clock back to Jack Ryans early years as a young CIA analyst who uncovers a Russian plot to crash the US economy with a terrorist attack.

Ryan will be played by Chris Pine who follows in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin, in 1990s The Hunt for Red October, Harrison Ford in 1992s Patriot Games and 1994s Clear and Present Danger and Ben Affleck in 2002s The Sum of All Fears.

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