The Fifty Shades of Grey sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, will shoot in Paris in the first half of this year, it has been announced, confirming that film-making activity in the French capital has not been driven away by November’s terrorist attacks.
According to Stephane Martinet, deputy director of the Ile-de-France Film Commission, the industry was showing its support for the city. “It seems there is some resilience among the film industry. Producers, in particular from the US, voiced their support to us after the attacks and reinforced their willingness to pursue their projects ... They want to send a message.”
The Bollywood producer-director Aditya Chopra has chosen Paris as the principal location for his “nu-experimental” feature Befikre, his first directorial project since 2008’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
According to Film France’s Mélanie Chebance, there are at least 10 film shoots currently under way in Paris. “There is an increased security level for everyone, but film shoots are proceeding as usual,” she said.
Applications for filming permits in the city dipped in November and December 2015 in the wake of the attacks, but enthusiasm appears to have now returned to pre-attack levels. However, there are some restrictions – for example, on the use of gunshot sounds during street filming.
French government officials are also taking steps to make the country a more attractive filming location, with tax breaks extended to a 30% rebate for blockbusters (though the rebate ceiling is $30m). The push was assisted by a visit to the US by the French culture minister, Fleur Pellerin, who told AFP that the plan was to “attract shoots with budgets of $80m to $100m”.
“Some directors were going to shoot abroad and are now going to do so in France,” said Pellerin. “Among American studios, there are decisions on shooting that will be taken and could be now be done in France.”
Other productions to benefit include the Christopher Nolan-directed Dunkirk, and Neil Jordan’s TV series Riviera.