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Production Notes for
the Universal Pictures Film Billy Elliot


Billy Elliot started shooting on location in the North East of England in August 1999, although finding locations proved much more difficult than expected.

"We didn't realize how hard it would be to find working pits (mines). We had to go all the way to Lynemouth and Ellington to look for them," says Finn, "but luckily we managed to secure the last remaining mine in the North East and didn't have to rely on recreating the pits through the wizardry of computer technology."

Brenman adds, "In fact, we were able to capture what was in Hall's imagination when he was writing the script because it was Easington that he was describing. However, less than six weeks after shooting in Ellington, the mine faced closure."

For shooting, the streets were dressed as the town would have appeared in 1984, when the miners and police were at loggerheads. Grim-faced riot police with helmets and shields and drawn batons stormed the streets while striking miners ran at their oppressors with fists and homemade weapons.

Daldry hoped that filming on location in Easington would enhance the writer's vision of the story. "The film essentially exposes a tight-knit community that comes under extreme pressure and a young boy's battle to find a way of realizing his full potential," Daldry says. "This combination challenges a whole range of stereotypes which I believe was important for Hall when writing the script.,'

The producers also kept the authenticity of the film intact by recruiting for the crowd scenes in the local papers. Over 400 northeastern residents were exposed to the "glamour" of movie making. As a result, the production crew kept getting larger as even the neighborhood kids got involved by taking over the tea and biscuit tables to dish out refreshments for cast and crew. Youngster Bell made a fair share of fans on set, as the number of local girls grew everyday just to catch a glimpse of him.

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Michael W. Phelan:

Last modified: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 7:17 AM