New British heist movie filmed in Bricket Wood

Film crews get to work on Plastic in Bricket Wood

Film crews get to work on Plastic in Bricket Wood - Credit: Archant

THE spotlight shone brightly on Bricket Wood recently as production got underway on a feature film starring Downton Abbey’s Ed Speleers and Game of Thrones’ Alfie Allen.

Plastic, which has been described as a cross between Catch Me if You Can and The Italian Job, wrapped filming last month. Based on various true stories, the picture follows a gang of friends who manage to infiltrate one of the biggest credit card companies in the world and pull off “one of the biggest and most audacious diamond heists ever committed in British history”.

Producing the movie took its team and actors all over the world, with filming hotspots including Miami, Brunei and Manchester. But it was Bricket Wood which became the backbone of making the film and offered an ample canvas for a whole host of integral scenes for the fraud-based film.

Film crews set up camp in Hanstead Park – the site of the old HSBC training centre – which proved a fruitful location for production, with woods, an office block and a university-style building readily available. This is not the first time Bricket Wood has been on the silver screen; a scene in A Clockwork Orange is said to have been filmed in woodland near the village.

Ed Speleers, who plays the lead role as Sam in the movie, said of the area: “I don’t know it particularly well but what I’ve seen of it seems lovely.

“I was made aware there’s quite a lot of filming history here so it’s quite nice to be a part of that.”

The film was often shot during night shoots, something which Ed thought made the crew “club together”. He added: “Everyone who’s worked on this job worked tirelessly and very hard and kept a smile on their faces. And rightly so because what we do for a living is really fun – it’s not exactly curing the blind.”

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It seems that signing up for the movie was a no-brainer for 24-year-old Speleers: “When I saw who else was coming on board, I jumped at the chance to work with people like Alfie Allen and Will Poulter. It seemed like an interesting new challenge.”

Filming Plastic was a challenge in more ways than one according to Terry Stone, founder of the production company behind it, Gateway Films, as getting to Bricket Wood to finish the film almost didn’t happen: “It’s been very tricky and stressful because we were filming in Miami, and the day we were flying back they shut all the airports because of the snow. We had a little bit of luck and a bit of divine intervention, proper planning and organisation. We’ve been blessed.”

Terry enthused about the filming location: “Somebody contacted us about it and said it has just come on the market. When we had a look at it, it was just brilliant. There was a big mansion which we used as a five-storey hotel.”

The successful producer, who has also starred in EastEnders and The Bill, hailed the project as the best film Gateway have made, which may be down to the fact they enlisted BAFTA nominated director Julian Gilbey. He said confidently: “We’ve upped everything by a notch.”

Not only does the film feature actors from two of the most talked about TV shows, it can also boast two other young rising talents – former Hollyoaks star Emma Rigby, and Will Poulter, of Wild Bill and Narnia fame.

Producers also handpicked a consultant for the film to help bring as much truth as possible to the story. Their choice was a man whose story influenced much of the film and once infamously stole 20 million pounds through credit card fraud. He went to prison for three years for the crime.

Terry said: “He brought a lot of what he knew was really factual for the film.

“You could say you shouldn’t say do a film about credit card fraud because people will know how it happens.”

But, he muses, it’s not going to be a DIY manual on how to commit credit card fraud: “As the world’s changed things are harder to do now.

“There’s never been a film that really delved into this subject that’s what makes it interesting”, he added.

“It was a lot of money and we’re talking about something that happened 15 or 16 years ago. And to think that he did that and pulled it off with no violence – it was all telephone conversations, dressing up and scamming people.”

Terry, who also makes a cameo appearance in the film as he does with almost all his movies, is quick off the mark as to why people should watch Plastic when it comes out – not just because it’s filmed in Bricket Wood.

“It’s an insight into a world you might not know about and it takes you on a journey. It’s funny, it’s got action, and it’s got romance.”

Plastic will be in cinemas in the near future.