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Film Studies 101
Feature
A Handy 8-Step Guide To Shooting A London Thriller
Closed Circuit’s John Crowley takes us behind the scenes in the Big Smoke

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From The Lodger to Luther, camera crews have been ubiquitous on London’s streets for a century. There’s barely an alley or alcove that hasn’t hosted a foot chase, even Dominic Toretto has raced its mysteriously traffic-free streets, and we’re one more helicopter shot of The Shard away from hitting ourselves over the head with a truncheon. The question is, then, how do you show audiences a fresh side of the Old Smoke? We thought we’d ask John Crowley, the man behind legal thriller Closed Circuit, for some tips. As he tells Empire: “I’m totally in love with this city.”

WORDS PHIL DE SEMLYEN
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A Handy 8-Step Guide To Shooting A London Thriller  | 1. Avoid The Movie Clichés
1. Avoid The Movie Clichés

Rule one of setting a film in London? No red buses, punk rockers or establishing shots of Buckingham Palace.

“The choice was to free ourselves of the red buses and the picture-postcard side of London. It’s a fascinating city and it reflects back at you what you perceive in it. It’s not possible to get one comprehensive view of it: it’s multi-faceted. As a filmmaker, the thing that interested me is the growing number of cameras in the town. That’s what drew me to this project.”
 

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