Camden bridge features in new Peter Rabbit film

It’s official – Camden is a cinematic hotspot.

Four years after Angelina Jolie’s Camden-shot war film Unbrokenhit cinemas, and two years after Mel Gibson’s Bringelly-shot Hacksaw Ridge made it to the big screen, another blockbuster is about to highlight the Macarthur region.

Live action children’s film Peter Rabbit – based on the perennially popular Beatrix Potter characters – hits movie theatres next week.

The film’s visual effects supervisor Will Reichelt, of effects company Animal Logic, spoke to the Advertiser about the production’s two-day shoot in Camden.

“The main scene we filmed in Camden features Thomas McGregory (Domhnall Gleeson), the antagonist of the movie who has managed to capture and kidnap one of our hero rabbit characters in a sack, driving to a bridge to throw them off into the river,” he said.

“The main feature that locals can look for is the bridge on Macquarie Grove Road that crosses the Nepean River.

“It’s an action sequence with the other rabbits trying to help them escape.”

The production’s two units – the primary unit, with the human cast, and the secondary unit, gathering shots for digital work – were both on hand in Camden to collect shots over the two-day period in January 2017.

“Domnhall Gleeson was there for the one day on the Macquarie Grove Road bridge and airport,” Mr Reichelt said.

“The Plate (secondary) Unit spent a day doing driving shots around the surrounding streets.”

Mr Reichelt said Camden was selected for a filming location because it met the specific needs of the project.

Peter Rabbit takes place in modern day Windermere, a small leafy town in the Lake District located in north-west England, so part of the challenge of shooting the film in and around Sydney was to find locations with the right look and feel without too many gum trees and other recognisable Australian flora,” he said.

“Camden was a great fit in this regard.

“Also as a bonus, the area where we were shooting was close to the airport where we were able to shoot one of the stunts featured in the climax of the film featuring a bi-plane.”

Mr Reichelt said last year’s near-unbearable heat – and the resulting bugs – was the biggest challenge of filming in the area.

He said Animal Logic had to add visual effects to roughly 80 per cent of the film.

Aside from bringing the animated characters to life, this was largely to make Australia look more like England.

“On set, my role is to understand what the director (Will Gluck) is after with each shot so that we capture the right information in order to do our post-production work back at the studio,” Mr Reichelt said.

“When you’re filming empty shots with characters who will be put into the film later, you really need to know where they’re going to be and what they’re doing.”

Mr Reichelt said he was “super excited” for Australian audiences to see the film and he was “very proud of Animal Logic’s work and the way it looks overall”.

Peter Rabbit will be released in Australian cinemas on March 22. Advanced screenings are being held this weekend.

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