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I Saw Spielberg Making His Latest Film Whilst on Me Hols in Malta

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Kevo, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. Kevo

    Kevo
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    (Long post but worth a read. Pics to follow)

    Just got back from my hols in Malta and whilst I was there I saw Spielberg making his latest film (‘Munich’) in the capital Valletta.
    Before I got there I was aware Spielberg would be in Malta filming but it was sheer luck that I ‘stumbled’ upon him filming, especially on only my second day there.

    The film is about Israeli Mossat agents hunting the Palestinian terrorists who murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich 72 Olympics.
    Due to its controversial nature and the fact that it’s a Spielberg film security throughout the 5 week shoot in Malta has been very tight (I can vouch for that!).

    Anyway here’s my account of events…

    One evening I was wandering through Valletta (Malta’s capital city) when I came to a part that was cordoned off with a Police roadblock. The policeman told me there was a film set down near the quayside and there was NO WAY that he was letting me through. He also confirmed that it was Spielberg filming his latest film ‘Munich’.

    So being a movie fan and the curious type I decided too to find another way down.
    Venturing further on it was clear that this was a MAJOR OPERATION as there were cables, light and mobile generators everywhere.
    There were lights high on rooftops and way back from the set pointing down the narrow streets towards the set. I walked past one and MY GOD are they blinding and VERY HOT!

    Anyway, I got a bit nearer and there were literally hundreds of technicians and security all over the place. I had my digital SLR (Nikon D70) camera with me at the time so I could easily have been mistaken for a paparazzi!
    At one point I could clearly hear a security guard saying in his walkie talkie “There’s a man on the bridge taking photographs, keep your eyen on him”…..That was me :eek:

    At this point I thought it best to put my camera away!

    For anyone familiar with Valletta the set was situated outside and around the British Hotel just above the Victoria Gate on the Grand Harbour Side

    The hotel had its name changed to something Greek as were many other signs. Clearly the set was meant to be in Greece or Cyprus.

    There were old 70s cars dotted around and a few actors looking like 70s mafia smoking on their break. These must be extras as their jet black greased back wigs, pencilled in 70s sideburns and heavy make-up on their faces made them look really fake…like mannequins!

    Spielberg looked a lot thinner (and smoked!) than I expected and has one hell of a shiny bold patch amongst his grey hair which you could clearly see as he was constantly taking off his familiar baseball cap, probably due to the heat. It was VERY HOT, even without all the lights!

    By now I was high above the set with a better view, monocular in hand and free to take pictures….However I had been followed from near the set all the way up to my new vantage point (Upper Barracas Gardens) by two security guards who literally stood right behind me walkie talkies blaring whilst I looked on.
    I must admit they made me feel really nervous as they looked like they could be in the movie themselves, really greaseball mean looking.
    Anyway I decided to pretend to take a few pics of The Grand Harbour and the odd one of the set which was now below me. But was a fair distant away and only equipped with 70mm lens so the pics wouldn’t be up to much and it was getting dark too.
    They didn’t say enough and I think somehow they knew I was a tourist and not a paparazzi.

    By about 9.30pm and the last bus back to where I was staying was at 10.00pm, I decided to call it a night and try again better equipped tomorrow...
     
  2. Kevo

    Kevo
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    Day Two

    Equipped with my 70-300mm Nikkor lens and travel tripod.

    Tried to get near to the set again but security was tighter than the night before and I soon got ushered away so it was up to my high vantage point.

    Even with all the gear my photos didn’t come out that good.
    The longer exposures at night time, shooting moving people with a long lens is not ideal!

    I could see Eric Bana in the driver’s seat of a car with somebody in the back with a lot of activity going on around it. Clearly a major scene as they were sat in there for hours!
    One thing I can tell you is that the whole process on this set looked really boring…very few takes and more time just setting things up than actual shooting.
    I stayed for a good few hours hoping to get a good photo but there must have been only three or four takes and just a mass of techies running around and actors just stood around smoking and drinking water.
    Even the security guard who I was now on talking terms with and remembered me from the night before said it was the most boring security job he had ever been assigned to!

    It’s no wonder these films cost so much, the amount of people behind the camera was incredible (see for yourself).

    By now even I got bored with the whole thing, novelty was wearing thin and decided to point my camera towards the Grand Harbour and get some night shots of arguably the most spectacular natural harbour in the world.

    A few days later my cousin (an extra in the coliseum crowd in Gladiator!) who lives on the street where they filmed told me they were filming all through the night for three nights with lots of explosions going off.
    Each resident was given 10 Maltese pounds (£16) each night and also offered free alternative accommodation in a hotel.

    This was the last day of shooting in Valletta and the Spielberg circus which had already been in several other locations a good few weeks before I got there was moving on to the Dry Docks in Cospicua where some of U-571 was shot a few years ago. Much to the annoyance of my cousin who works on the docks and had to take a massive detour to get to work as again a large area surrounding the set had been cordoned off.


    For those familiar with Malta they had used Sliema, Buggiba, Rabat, Valletta and Cospicua (so far) all doubling as other places like Rome, Cyprus etc.

    For further info on other films made in Malta and why Hollywood Directors tend to use it so much have a look at my web site in my signature ….

    I’ll post some pics soon when I’ve sorted through them all.

    They’re not brilliant. I’m no paparazzi and I was at a fair distant from the set and it was at night.
     
  3. Kevo

    Kevo
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    Pics as promised....

    [​IMG]
    A 'Super Trooper'.


    [​IMG]
    Eric Bana(?) in the driver's seat. I know he was sat in there for hours, doing take after take!
    (note the Greek sign on the left and the 70s cars)


    [​IMG]
    Spielberg (greay hair, blue top, middle of photo back to camera) briefs the actors.



    [​IMG]
    A closer view of the above photo.
    Think that's Bana in front of and to the right of Spielberg.
    The actor with the grey hair to Spielberg's right looks familiar (anyone?)



    [​IMG]
    The best shot I could get of Spielberg (right)


    [​IMG]
    A wide shot of the set.
    Note more lights on teh rooftops.
    There were even more to the left, right and below out of shot.
    They've also covered up the name above the gate (arches) on the right.
    It should read 'Victoria Gate' which was built by the Brits and is a familiar Maltese location.

    More details can be found HERE
     
  4. Gary D

    Gary D
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    nice one Kevo :smashin: that must have been fun.


    cool!!

    Gary
     
  5. Kevo

    Kevo
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    It was at first, but I ended up staying there for a good few hours hoping to get a good pic of the actors and Spielberg (which I never really did).

    Now I know how press photographers feel!

    Couldn't do it for a living.

    I was so tempted to sneak closer with my long lens but feared if I got caught I could get into trouble. Some of them security guards looked pretty mean!
     
  6. Gary D

    Gary D
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    i went on holiday to Nice a month ago and found out that the hotel i stayed in was a foot away from the "nice" car chase in Ronin :thumbsup: at one point de niro was stood in the same place i was eating dinner the week before.

    christ i was chuffed witrh that, but what you saw would have me beaming from ear to ear :D
     
  7. Kevo

    Kevo
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    I've sat in the same seat that Oliver Reed died in (in a pub, also in Valletta, Malta) :eek:

    I've also been under the arch where Maximus's friend gets ambushed in Gladiator and been in the 'prison' in Midnight Express and swam in the sea (lagoon) where the fleet first appears in Troy.
     
  8. Gary D

    Gary D
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    stop it now - my grin is failing.......



    gary
     
  9. Kevo

    Kevo
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    My cousin also helped build a fake submarine for U-571
    He said it was German on one side and American on the other!
    :)
     
  10. Gary D

    Gary D
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    you not some kind of "bladwin" or a McGann" are you :D


    i bet the sub looked great :smashin:

    Gary
     
  11. Kevo

    Kevo
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    One place i can't get into is the fort where they filmed most of Troy, Gladiator and bits of Cutthroat Island. It's closed to the public and is just used for films :mad:
     
  12. Kevo

    Kevo
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    Also have two other cousins who were extras in Gladiator.
    They were in the crowd in the Colisseum.

    Blink and you'll miss 'em :)
     
  13. Gary D

    Gary D
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    feeling very indaequate now.

    i was on the BBC news once... sulks aways knowing its nothing to be an extra in gladiator... mubble mubble mubble...... :D

    Gary
     
  14. Kevo

    Kevo
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    Oh yes?

    Would this explain the real reason for your absence from these forums recently? ;)
     
  15. Gary D

    Gary D
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    ha ha - it was a *cough* holiday.


    Gary
     
  16. Kevo

    Kevo
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    Just read THIS article about Spielberg filming in Malta.

    Seems he left last Friday night without giving a single interview.
    I left on Friday evening too, must have just missed 'em at the airport :mad:

    See the reason for heightened security whilst I was there as a lot of equipment went up in smoke the day I arrived (foul play?).
     
  17. Gary D

    Gary D
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    i hope you gave interviews to the local press before you left :D

    Gary
     
  18. paul007

    paul007
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    i was on cheggers plays pop as a kid in the earley eighties with school lol
     

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