FilmFixer played its part in the London shoots for the Eternals, Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao’s superhero debut about the titular group of 10 demigods who join forces to protect the Earth from the “Deviants”.
With Eternals, her first film as part of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), the scale of the drama has changed entirely. Everything about Eternals is huge, with cosmic vistas and a story which spans the globe and the entirety of human civilisation, from the Australian outback to ancient Babylon, from Mesopotamia to modern-day London, with plenty of spectacular, CGI-heavy set pieces along the way.
Preparation for the London shoots in Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road, began with consultation and communication with residents being carried out well in advance. Conversations with local people started in July/August 2019, even though the shoot wasn’t due to happen until January 2020.
This was one of the biggest shoots ever done in the area, and it’s rare (if unheard of!) for Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road to be closed for filming as they’re such busy thoroughfares for road and pedestrian traffic to the markets and pubs etc. Councillor Jonathan Simpson was one of the councillors at the borough who lent his support to the project, and he was absolutely key in ensuring the filming took place.
The only way to make the shoot remotely achievable was for the work to take place overnight, when the markets were closed. This requirement added to the challenge for the locations team and their marshals, who had to manage pedestrian traffic, often consisting of merry revellers who’d been enjoying Camden’s famously lively nightlife!
The locations team set up a community meeting in a local school which was attended by FilmFixer and provided detailed plans of parking, traffic management etc. The crew ensured they used as many local businesses as possible. These included a local venue on Camden Lock which was used for catering, and some new commercial office space nearby, which served as the locations teams offices. Many local shops were dressed and appear in the movie. FilmFixer also set up a local marshal to work on the shoot.
The shoot took place over five nights, but the prepping and dressing was underway before Christmas. Lookout for one spectacular scene which involved Kit Harrington being suspended on stunt wires above the Lock.
Belsize Terrace also featured in ‘ The Eternals’ London filming schedule. As before, nothing on this scale had ever been done before in this location. The pretty, and much-loved area which features the greengrocers and pastel-coloured shops was closed for the shoot. The locations team needed to reorganise the on-street parking arrangements for a number of residents, so they set up a community meeting in a local church to inform local people of the temporary changes. A number of local organisations were paid to use their car parks as part of the solution for residents. The production team also made donations to local organisations including The Winch, the Hive and The Belsize Society (Residents Association) – all these suggestions came after conversations with local councillors and residents.
Photo credits @Marvel