Hollywood Stars Kenneth Branagh and Chris Pine Film New Blockbuster Movie in Birkenhead

Wirral News, 26 September 2012
By Lorna Hughes

Hollywood superstars Chris Pine and Kenneth Branagh came to Wirral to film their new blockbuster movie.

Crews from a film based on Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan spy novels were in Birkenhead for three days to shoot key scenes. The bulk of the filming involved Pine as CIA agent Ryan on a motorbike being chased by police at a disused entrance to the Birkenhead tunnel.

Location managers sent to scout out possible bases for the stars and crew hired office space from stunned staff at nearby Foundry Business Centre. One was used as a green room for the stars of the film to relax in between takes.

Centre manager Jan Connor said: “I was in reception one day when a man walked in and told me he was a film location manager looking for some space. I showed him a couple of our office units and he said they’d be really good.

“I asked him what sort of film it was and he told me it was a Hollywood blockbuster called Jack Ryan and named the main actor. As soon as he left I was Googling the names! I rang my manager at our other office but she thought somebody was winding me up!”

The crew, from August Films, are also understood to have rented car park space from Wirral Council.

Jan said: “It was fabulous to see. There were about 100 people in the crew and they made the opening to the tunnel look like it was in New York.

“There were guys putting artwork over it to make it look more like brickwork and they put signs up saying Wall Street freeway. The car park was full of NYPD police cars.

“It’s been a great thing for us and it was such an exciting week seeing the crew and the making of a film. Everyone was popping out of their offices on their lunch breaks to watch them filming.”

Pine, described by onlookers as charming, waved to crowds who gathered to watch the filming. Branagh, who is directing the film, was also spotted on set.

But Keira Knightley, who plays Ryan’s love interest Cathy, is thought to have filmed her scenes in Liverpool – which doubled as Moscow.

The Paramount Pictures production, which follows previous Jack Ryan films starring Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford, is thought to be the first in a trilogy.

It will be released late next year.

Back to the Jack Ryan page | Back to Articles Listing | Back to the Compendium