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Cinema Beaches I
From Granada to Almería, the beaches of Andalucía are not only an attraction for millions of local and foreign tourists along the year, but also a claim for the film directors and well-known artists that used them as a set for their films, TV shows, documentaries and video clips. Far from the sand and the sun, which delight the visitors who come to the area, the coastline of Andalucía has become an immense set where many audio visual productions have been shot, showing all around the world the beautiful coastline of Andalucía.
Burt Reynolds (Actor)
“In Almeria you can have deserts, oceans, mountains… It is extraordinarily versatile, and it is incredible the number of scenes you can shoot there”
Fernando Colomo was unable to shoot ‘Al sur de Granada’ in Yegen, where Gerald Brenan arrived in the Twenties, because in 2002 it no longer looked like the one the British writer knew, so he had to film in several locations in the municipality of La Tahá, such as Fondales, where the only house Brenan bought is located and where his secretary and heiress lives.
‘Contra el viento’, with Antonio Banderas and Emma Suárez, was determinant because it began a period when, apart from shooting in the Parque Natural Cabo de Gata, the film crew started to live there too, with everything that implies for the development of the area. In that occasion, all the available houses in the village of San José were rented to the crew, so the hairstyling and productions offices had to be installed at the local houses.
Steven Spielberg rejected shooting in la Alhambra because the monument was “too visually familiar for us to attempt to use it as a location supposedly somewhere else”.
During the shooting of ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ in Guadix, in the scene where Marcus start running through the streets in Iskenderun, you can see a local, with his hat, his sash and his jacket, that may slip into the shooting. The same character appears in the scene where Sallah and Marcus met and started a fight with two Nazis. The local is among the group of Arabs who gathered around them. The strange thing is that nobody notices him.
Perhaps because it was partly shot in the provinces of Almeria and Granada, ‘Indiana Jones and the last crusade’ is the instalment of the saga with the biggest audience in our country’s cinemas, 4.2 million viewers.
Steven Spielberg and the location team of ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ chose the locations to shoot the film from the air, traveling by helicopter throughout the province. In one of the location days, lunchtime was getting closer and the helicopter landed in the parking lot of the “Parador Nacional de Mojácar”, to the amazement of everyone there, who saw the arrival and ate together with the American director and his team.
If ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ presented for the first time the father of the hero, played by Sean Connery, the series ‘The young Indiana Jones’, shot three years later (1991) showed the adolescence of the character, played by Sean Patrick Flannery. Interestingly, this series, aired in Spain by Antena 3 in 1993, was also filmed in the province of Almeria.
In the famous scene of ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ in which Sean Connery scares some seagulls to hit a Nazi plane, pigeons, which are less aggressive and easier to domesticate, were used.
During the shooting of ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ at Guadix Station, the Cinematography Director, Douglas Slocombe, repeatedly changed some elements of the set to adapt the scene to the sunlight changes.
In the shooting of ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ in Almería, every extra of the 175 who took part in the film earned 8,000 pesetas (48 euros) per shooting day. This tax beard the following costs: 5,000 pesetas (30€) appeared as mandatory in the contract, adding other concepts (1,000 pesetas – 6€- as ‘plus for the costume’: to dress in an unusual way; 800 pesetas (4,8€) for playing with the head shaved…).
Throughout his career, Sean Connery returned three times to the beach of Monsul (Almeria), because in this environment scenes of ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’, ‘Shalako’ and ‘El viento y el Lion’ were filmed.
The parking of the Hotel Parador in Mojácar (Almería) was used as an airport runway for a plane in some scenes in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’.
Chiringuito Manaca, in Mojácar (Almería) was built on the top of the fort constructed for the movie ‘The Treasure Island’ and they still keep some souvenirs from the film shooting.
During the shooting of ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’, at Playa de Monsul, two people of the production team of the film were attached to the public telephones of El Pozo de los Frailes and San José because there were no more in the area.
During the shooting of ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’, at Playa de Monsul, at the entrance of San José and for months, three elephants who usually went to the beach followed by the local children were camped. Furthermore, once a tiger run away through the beach.
El Bar de Amancio, which appears in the TV show ‘Mar de plástico’, is inspired by a real bar located at Playa de Balerma (El Ejido, Almería). This bar is very famous among the locals because there usually are live music and cultural activities. The thing that not everyone knows is that only the outdoor scenes are shot in Almería, because the inside of the bar is a set located in Madrid, but inspired by the real one in the coastline of Almeria.
David Trueba said that although the wind from Cabo de Gata sometimes made it difficult to shoot ‘Living is easy with eyes closed’, he tried to see the positive side and took advantage of it for the film. Javier Cámara remembers some beautiful shots of Natalia de Molina, with her mane in the wind.
The movie ‘Living is easy with eyes closed’ is based on a true story. In the sixties, Juan Carrión, a high school teacher who used the lyrics of the Beatles songs to teach English, met John Lennon, who was filming “How I Won the War” in Almeria, and asked him to include the lyrics of their songs on the covers of their albums. And although Trueba did not want to meet Juan while writing the script to avoid being conditioned, as soon as it was written and the movie started, he sought him out. Carrión, who died a few years after the premiere, “enjoyed the success of the film very much,” according to Trueba. In fact, at the 2014 Goya Awards, the director was accompanied by the teacher, who was able to enjoy how his story received the Goya Award for Best Film
Almeria wasn’t in the shooting plans for ‘Never Say Never Again’, but after shooting in the Bahamas there were some scenes left to shoot, and it was Sean Connery himself who recommended the team to come and shoot in Andalusia.
During the filming of ‘007. Never say never again’, the martial arts instructor, Steven Seagal, who was unknown at the time, broke Sean Connery’s wrist in one of the trainings.