From stunt doubles to costume designers, we talk to the people who've helped make some of London's most iconic films. 'Bend it Like Beckham' kickstarted the career of Keira Knightley and put Hounslow on the cinematic map. Producer, writer and director Gurinder Chadha shares what it was like filming in her neighbourhood and how her mum ended up on the movie poster.
The film is set in Hounslow – how important was the location to you?
‘The film is autobiographical; I grew up in west London. It’s always fun to film in your own hood and it’s become a record of British Asian lives, and Southall and Hounslow from 16 years ago.’
Did any locals get involved?
‘We always had locals wanting to be part of the film. India has a huge film culture, so there’s never any shortage of extras! My extended family all feature in the film, including my mum, who made it on to the poster as one of the women in the line as Jess takes her penalty at the climax of the movie.’
How does it feel to revisit the film’s locations now?
‘I recently went to Sutton Square in Heston, where we shot the exteriors of Jess’s family home. While we were there a group of young lads came up and said, “Did you know this is the house where ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ was shot?” I nodded. He said, “Lots of people like you come here and take photos – shall I take one of you?” That made me smile. The film is so important for so many people around the world, particularly the Asian diaspora and female football players. I’ve often thought someone should organise a tour of the locations and end with a big curry fest in Southall.’
Want more iconic London films? Check out our top 30 list.