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28 Days Later
20th Century Studios

London on screen: how the bridge scene in ‘28 Days Later’ was filmed

Written by
Thomas Hobbs

It's one of modern British cinema’s most iconic scenes, but how exactly did Danny Boyle manage to capture a deserted Westminster Bridge in ‘28 Days Later’?  

The location: Westminster Bridge

The scene: Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes from a coma in St Thomas’ Hospital and wanders out into a deserted London. As he walks across an empty, litter-strewn Westminster Bridge, he realises something is seriously wrong.

Then: Danny Boyle’s 2002 zombie classic traded George A Romero’s shuffling undead for super-charged zombies. The challenge was to make London look desolate and post-apocalyptic, according to location manager Alex Gladstone. ‘We shot on a weekend and got there super-early to capture that moment,’ he says. ‘We had to film everything in a morning, which added to the frenetic rawness. There were a few people wandering home after a late night out, but we had police helping keep them out of shot. There were angry drivers beeping at Cillian too, but we edited the noise out.’ 

Andy Parsons

Now: In the wake of recent terror attacks, Gladstone thinks it would be impossible to recreate (and not just because of all the scaffolding). ‘On so many films, the director says: “I want a vision of London that’s never been seen before.” I believe this is the only time that it’s been achieved.’

For more of the city on screen, check out our list of the 30 best London movies.

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