Redcar scrubs up for starring role in film version of Atonement
Wednesday May 24, 2006
Ian McEwan's bestselling novel Atonement will this summer be turned into a potential blockbuster film - and offer a lifeline to a fading north-east England resort. The film of the book by the Booker Prize-winning author will star Keira Knightley, best known for her Oscar-nominated role in Pride and Prejudice, and Scottish actor James McAvoy, who has appeared in Band of Brothers and the TV series Shameless.
The plot, which starts in the 1930s, involves 13-year-old Briony Tallis - likely to be played by Australian actress Abbie Cornish - wrongly accusing her older sister's boyfriend, Robbie Turner (McAvoy), of raping her glamorous cousin and the horrendous consequences that follow.
In a deal expected to be signed at the end of this week, Redcar and Cleveland borough council will allow the company to take over the town's beach, turn a terrace house into a French bar and replace railings and lampposts with authentic French cast iron versions. It will also be half-sinking tanks in the sand and bringing in a flotilla of small 60-year-old boats.
For the local Teessiders, there are 1,000 parts as film extras playing the departing squaddies and the chaos of war.
A spokeswoman for the council said: "We are hoping that the film becomes a blockbuster, attracting people to come to Redcar to see the original place where Atonement was filmed. We are not taking any money for it."
Redcar would never have got the starring role if a controversial redevelopment plan on the cliffs, including 350 modern homes and a leisure centre, had gone ahead earlier. It would have looked too modern to serve as a stage set.
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