Categories Movies

Hollywood stars expected at Wild Coast for movie shoot

A-List Hollywood stars Hilary Swank and Richard Gere are to star in a film to be partly shot on the Wild Coast.

The movie, which will chronichle the life of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, will be shot near the Trennerys Hotel.

The Saturday Dispatch understands that the stars are expected here in two weeks and that the whole crew, including the actors and production team would be staying at Trennerys and Seagulls hotels. Work on building the sets at the airfield near Trennerys is already underway.

When the Dispatch contacted Trennerys Hotel we were referred to Cape Town-based production company Moonlighting, which specialises in offering production services for commercials, films and stills.

But producer Genevieve Hofmeyer would neither confirm nor deny it.

“Well they are not granting interviews,” she said before asking that all correspondence be sent via e-mail. Moonlighting is the same company that worked on Blood Diamond starring Leonardo Di Caprio, which was also partly shot at Port Edward and Port St Johns.

But Internet Movie Database, an authoritative website on films, lists South Africa as one of the locations where shooting of the film Amelia would take place.

Directed by Mira Nair, the film looks at the life of Earhart who disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937. The story centres on the legendary pilot’s life and traces her rise to fame, marriage to publisher George Putnam and her affair with Gene Vidal, father of author Gore Vidal.

Swank will play the role of Earhart, Gere the role of George Putnam and Ewan McGregor the role of Gene Vidal.

Born in 1897, Earhart’s story is an interesting one mixing inspiration, love and mystery in a package that not even Hollywood could script.

From a young age she defied conventional feminine behaviour by climbing trees, hunting rats with a .22 rifle and riding a sled.

She later went on to set a number of flying records during her career, including becoming the first woman pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932.

During an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937, Earhart along with navigator Fred Noonan, disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island and fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day.

Theories of what happened to her abound, but two possibilities concerning her fate have prevailed among researchers and historians. Many believe the the plane ran out of fuel and Earhart and Noonan ditched at sea, which is the most widely accepted explanation for the disappearance.

The second theory has it that Earhart and Noonan may have flown on without radio transmission for two-and-a-half hours and landed on an uninhabited island and ultimately died as no one knew where to search for them.

Swank is well versed to play the role of Earhart having won the Best Actress Oscar for Boys Don’t Cry and a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and a second Oscar for Million Dollar Baby directed by Clint Eastwood.

Heart-throb Gere is no stranger to South African filmgoers.

The second of five children, he’s most well known for the role he played alongside Julia Roberts in the 1990 blockbuster film Pretty Woman. It propelled him onto a new level and he has since gone on to star in several films including Runaway Bride, The Mothman Prophecies and Unfaithful.

Off screen Gere is well known for his humanitarian work and is a founding member of “Tibet House,” a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture. He has also been an active supporter of Survival International, an organisation that supports tribal peoples.