Cape Town’s gorgeous scenery and beautiful weather has been taken advantage of by the international film industry more and more over the years. The Mother City and its surrounding countryside has hosted some of Hollywood’s biggest names as they chase their own silver screen glory.
Many may not know it but some of the biggest blockbusters have been made here thanks to the local studios and experienced crews. But the biggest star normally turns out to be the locations available in Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape. In Safe House for instance, with Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington, 3 Arts Theatre in Plumstead, one of the oldest theatres in Cape Town, was converted to a sound stage for 3 months during filming. Scenes were also shot at Cape Town stadium and Langa Township which give this film a truly South African and Capetonian feel. The production also made use of some local talent and, with some crowd scenes involving up to 4000 extras, the movie scenes shot in South Africa were as authentic as possible from the scenery to the people.
The Western Cape has a vast range of landscapes, from beaches and forests to arid landscapes and mountains and everything in between. This wide variety provides the perfect setup for scenes which doubles up for a range of places all across the globe. For example, Flashbacks of a Fool with Daniel Craig featured Malibu beach shots which were actually filmed on the Atlantic coast in Cape Town. The film also featured a scene in the upmarket Salt Restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel overlooking the ocean in Bantry Bay. Then there was Tiger House shot in Wynberg which doubled for Surrey, England. In Young Ones, Namaqualand substituted for a futuristic arid American waste land. Doomsday had scenes shot at Ratanga Junction and the rest of the scenes were again a substitute, this time for Scotland’s rolling landscapes.
Cape Town is renowned all across the globe for its perfect waves, so it’s only apt that the adventure movie The Perfect Wave was shot in and around Cape Town. Starring Scott Eastwood, this love story takes the audience on a journey searching for the perfect wave and with the fantastic weather, the bluest water and the white sandy beaches, there is no better location to feature some of the world’s best surfing spots. In Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove, Kirra’s father runs a run-down amusement park in South Africa where a baby orca whale becomes stranded. Muizenberg’s Beach Front Water Park was converted to be the star location of this family adventure film. Muizenberg is an idyllic family friendly beach with white sandy beaches and beautiful scenery and with its mild waves and stunning beach front setting, it is the perfect location to film a beach and ocean based family film.
There are so many more, Redemption is a made for TV movie shot mostly just outside of the city, Chronicles had scenes shot at the Artscape Theatre and Cape Town Film Studios, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom featured the actual Robben Island prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, The Giver was filmed in Cape Town, The Deal and even Blood Diamond had scenes shot in the Mother City.
So why is Cape Town so popular? The answer is the diversity of landscapes that are available within only a few hour’s drive from Cape Town. You have gorgeous ocean views, mountainous vistas that are second to none, arid desert-like conditions, forests teeming with wildlife, game reserves with the big 5 and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. All of these and so much more are available in easy driving distance for anyone who has an urge to experience a little of this fantastic natural beauty that has been featured in all of these Hollywood movies for themselves.