Budapest: the best place to shoot your movie
Ever since Budapest became one of the favourite production sites of Hollywood, we are able to spot more and more film shootings on the streets of our beloved city. If you’ve been wondering what Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher is doing here or why the streets in the Palace district are closed by turns, then Forbes.hu has all the answers you seek.
We witnessed Jennifer Lawrence exploring Budapest while shooting Red Sparrow, and since then, film stars and crews have flooded the Hungarian capital. Forbes.hu reports that the companies which bring the big American and European productions to Hungary have confirmed that both the city and their employees are busy working on films. There are so many films and series shot simultaneously in Budapest, that it is impossible to receive even one more production. There are no more professionals available, either; all of them are involved in some or other productions.
Mid Atlantic productions
The biggest production under shooting in Budapest is The Alienist mini-series. Shooting began for the ten episodes in spring and is expected to be finished by early September. The costume crime series is based on Caleb Carr’s similarly titled novel, set at the end of the 19th century in New York. The series stars Daniel Brühl, who plays Dr Laszlo Kreizler, a psychiatrist with Hungarian roots, searching after a serial killer targeting male prostitutes. Luke Evans’ journalist character and Dakota Fanning’s police officer are aiding him in his efforts.
Although the majority of the scenes are shot in the Origo film studio at Rákospalota, some scenes were shot in the 5th, 8th and 9th districts. You might spot the Szabó Ervin Library, Mikszáth square or Lónyay Street. The trailer shows the school at Lónyay street doubling as the New York police office. Some of the Forbes journalists actually ran into Daniel Brühl at Mikszáth square: the actor was on the phone, chatting with someone in Italian.
The Hungarian producer of The Alienist is Mid Atlantic. The company was also involved in the production of Blade Runner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, and in the production of the new Robin Hood film, with Jamie Foxx as the lead. Parts of both films were shot in Hungary.
So why are Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis in Budapest with their children? Mila Kunis is shooting her latest film, The Spy Who Dumped Me, a spy-comedy about two girl friends, played by Kunis and by Kate McKinnon. Kunis’ character finds out that her ex-boyfriend is a spy, hunted by hitmen, and the two women have to run for their lives as well. You will spot Corvin square, some buildings from the 8th districts and the Paris Department Store from Andrássy street.
The neighbourhood of the Opera House doubles perfectly as Paris: the last film shot here was Colette, under the wings of Pioneer Pictures. The story is set at the beginning of the 20th century, and is about French writer, who is played by Keira Knightley. The producer, Ildikó Kemény, told Forbes that they shot scenes at Moulin Rouge, at Művész Kávéház (Art Coffeehouse), at the Expressz house at Szabadság square, at the Petőfi Literary Museum, at Könyvudvar (Book Yard) and at the Kodály körönd.
Pioneer produces the sixth season of the series Strike Back, shooting at several locations until September, and the National Geographic series, Mars 2, mainly at the Korda studios at Etyek. Red Sparrow and Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde were both produced by Pioneer.
One of the biggest Hungarian productions underway right now is directed by László Nemes Jeles, Academy Award Winner director. His costume film, Sunset, is supported by the Hungarian government with 5 million euros. The drama thriller is set in 1913, starring Juli Jakab, and is shot at several locations until the end of August. Some of these locations include the Palace District, Museum street and Vas street. At the latter site, passers-by could even spot hussars. However, there is a lot of secrecy around the rest of the shooting sites.
Gábor Herendi is working on the third A Kind of America, the shooting sites of which are the Petőfi barrack, an apartment at Hajós street, the Kútvölgyi Hospital, the Keleti Railway Station, the church at the Square of Roses (Rózsák tere), Dohány, Barcsay and Verseny street and the Globus cannery. The latter served as a site for World War Z, starring Brad Pitt.
The director of For Some Inexplicable Reasons, Gábor Reisz shot his latest film, Bad Poems at trams 4 and 6 with a relatively young crew. Reisz both directs and plays the lead of the film. Bad Poems was shot at the Buda Castle, at the Alfréd Hajós National Swimming Stadium at Margaret Island and at the piers at the Pest side.
In autumn, the film rush usually slows down, but never really stops: several foreign and Hungarian productions are set to start in October. A biopic, entitled Curtiz, will be produced here about the director of Casablanca, Mihály Kertész, and also the third season of The Last Kingdom.