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Friday, 11 May 2012

Former Doctor Who Art Director Ed Thomas Helps Bring Hollywood To Swansea

Ed Thomas
It would seem a the rebirth of Doctor Who in Wales has had an added benefit as it's former producers are bringing big bucks to the area. Former Doctor Who series designer and Swansea-native Ed Thomas along with former producer Julie Gardner from nearby Glynneath were instrumental in bringing Hollywood to Swansea with the opening of what will be Europe's biggest indoor film studios. The 265,000 square foot former Visteon auto site site in Fabian Way, Swansea will be converted into sound-stages and could bring a massive £60 million boost to the economy.

US screenwriter and film director David S Goyer will begin shooting a new TV series next month entitled "Da Vinci's Demons". Film fans will remember that Goyer's writing credits include blockbusters Batman Begins and Blade. In addition to the new studio filming will also include other locations in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot, including at Margam Castle which was used for 'The Rattigan Academy' for the 10th Doctor episode "The Poison Sky".

Former Visteon auto site
The series will be another joint production from American channel Starz Entertainment and BBC Worldwide Productions recounting Leonardo da Vinci's life story. 100 new jobs have been created and many more are expected to be created. Unnamed sources said it could be worth $100million (£61million) to the Swansea area.

"When you think David Goyer has the new Batman film about to be released and the new Superman — it's a huge coup. Starz, the premier cable channel, has been scouring the world for a location for Da Vinci's Demons." Thomas said.

"I worked with Julie Gardner in Hollywood on "Torchwood" and when they said they were looking to film we brought them to South Wales — after a lot of negotiating.
Julie Gardner

"They (Starz) fell in love with the 265,000 square feet of stage space in the old Visteon plant.

"It's a big series with huge ambition — with a bit of luck it will run for seasons.

"When you have David Goyer involved in the mix you will have a cult following — the production can only be beneficial for Neath Port Talbot and Swansea, financially and on all levels."

In "Da Vinci's Demons" English actor Tom Riley will star as the young Da Vinci and Laura Haddock will play Lucrezia Donati, the mistress of Lorenzo Medici and lover of Leonardo da Vinci.
Tom Riley

The story will be the untold life of Leonardo, which sounds like they will make a lot of stuff up.  "We are going to be working at Margam Castle, where we are going to be creating our own Da Vinci palace." Thomas said. So Swansea will be Italy on the cheap, sort of sounds like.
Laura Haddock

As a Who fan from back in the classic era, I'm wondering if this version of Di Vinci wil meet Captain Tancredi / Count Scarlioni / Scaroth, the last of the Jagaroth race? Somehow I get the feeling this will be more about scantly clad artist models than a visit from a Time Lord, even given the shows connections.

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