Eagle eyed Brummies may have spotted some bizarre scenes in the city over the last few weeks, with abandoned cars littering the roads, alarmingly overgrown foliage sprouting from kerbs and people with guns wandering the streets.
Don't worry, though – it doesn't mean you slept through the apocalypse. These scenes were actually part of the film shoot for 'She Who Brings Gifts', the forthcoming movie adaptation of 'The Girl With All the Gifts' by author M.R. Carey.
Starring big name actors including Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton, the film centres around the story of a special young girl named Melanie.
Melanie may hold the key to humanity's survival, ten years after an outbreak of a fungal disease that leads the infected to eat human flesh.
Arterton plays Melanie's teacher, who teaches a rather unusual group of children. Close plays a doctor looking to cure the disease.
Filming has centred on the Midlands, with Church Street being transformed into an apocalyptic wasteland. Scenes have also been shot in the abandoned Powergen site in Shirley, the derelict Dudley Guest Hospital and on Cannock Chase.
Producer Camille Gatin explained that the decision was made to film here in the Midlands was because there 'were really great locations that fitted this particular storyline. We knew that we could have a central base and within a 40 minute or one hour drive from that base we would be able to find all the locations.'
As well as filming in the Midlands, some of the film's talent hails from the region too.
The character Melanie is played by twelve-year-old Sennia Nanua, and hails from Nottingham. Trained by The Television Workshop, Nanua was the last of 500 girls to audition for the part, and blew the casting team away with her performance. The film also features children from The Pauline Quirke Academy in Edgbaston, allowing them a rare chance to take part in filming so close to home.
It seems that all of the actors have become taken with the Midlands during their time here. Glenn Close, an avid hiker, took great interest in the birds and insects of Cannock Chase, and spent a lot of time discussing them with the rangers. Gatin also mentioned that she travelled further afield, hiking in the Peak District and taking in a performance of 'The Merchant of Venice' in Stratford.
The film is very much a British affair, despite its Hollywood connections. It's being partially funded by Creative England through the West Midlands Production Fund, which aims to bring more high quality film production to the West Midlands. To date, 'She Who Brings Gifts' is their biggest investment. It's also being directed by Colm McCarthy, who most memorably directed several episodes of 'Peaky Blinders'.
There's no hard release date yet, but producers are looking to have 'She Who Brings Gifts' out at cinemas sometime in 2016. The film will be distributed by Warner Brothers Studios.
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