24 July 2014

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Movie Moment at Cafe de Paris


Cafe de Paris - Cafe_de_Paris_Mezzanine_Set_For_Dinner.jpgAround this time last year, on a sticky, hot, three-day shoot, the production team on Keira Knightley’s upcoming film, The Edge of Love, were trying to recreate the explosion caused by two 50-kilo bombs during World War II at Café de Paris. ‘They were chucking tonnes of debris and dust off the balconies in the main ballroom; they even asked if they could wobble and shake our original 1940s chandelier,’ recalls Andrew Birnie, events and sales director for Maxwell's Restaurants, the venue operator.

The film, on general release at the end of June, tells the life story of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and the women who vyed for his affections (Knightley plays lover Vera Phillips, Sienna Miller his wife Caitlin). It took 18 hours to transform the venue back to how it would have looked in wartime London 1943, but both crew and actors were reportedly very relaxed, with Knightley sending out for ice-creams for everyone when the heat got too much to bear (air con didn’t exist in those days).

This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Summer 2008.

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