Gran Canaria Hasn’t Been This full Of A-listers Since 1956. Here’s Why Hollywood Is Back

The original Gran Canaria blockbuster back in 1954

The original Gran Canaria blockbuster back in 1956

When Shirley Maclaine filmed Wild Oats in Gran Canaria, she wrote a book about the experience.

It’s mostly about how she reconnected with her past life in Atlantis while the film crew searched the island’s sofas for change; Wild Oats was a shoestring production.

But they got it filmed and you can read all about it in Above the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure (if you dare). It’s a fascinating account of how a Hollywood diva sees the world from her suite.

At least the book made it into print. Wild Oats is still in post-production and doesn’t have a release date.

Showbusiness eh!

Where Shirley leads, Hollywood follows

You may have noticed that you can’t move round here for film crews at the moment.

Triana is under lockdown this weekend so Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard can do their jobs. And, soomewhere up in the hills, Jon Hamm (you know him as Don Draper from Mad Men) is filming a new episode of cult UK series Black Mirror.

Last month, the Star Wars production team scouted Maspalomas as a location for the next film in the franchise. Shhh, that was meant to be a secret.

Exciting times!

The most exciting we’ve had since Moby Dick in 1956. Or Sir (for now) Cliff Richard’s Wonderful Life in 1964. He even upped the ante with a concert at the Flamingo club.

The Shadows of Las Palmas’ showbizz history are everywhere.

But big fish and dodgy pop stars fall well short of even a sniff of the possibility of Brangelina wandering around Vegueta.

But why Gran Canaria?

There are two reasons why producers are in a lather about the island.

The first is that Gran Canaria’s “Miniature Continent” status is exactly what film-makers are looking for. Moving truckloads of equipment over long distances is expensive and so is waiting around for a sunny day.

And, incidentally, it’s harder for your stars to escape if you run out of money on an island.

In Gran Canaria, you can film a Jedi chopping up sand people in the morning, and Ewoks burning Jar Jar Binks in a leafy glade in the afternoon.

The second, and probably more important reason, is that the Canary Islands now throw tax breaks at anyone who wants to point a camera at them.

This makes enormous sense as every film made here is worth a fortune in free advertising.

Cheap sunny & easy (now)

Gran Canaria has the widest range of locations of all the Canary Islands, along with great infrastructure and nice hotels to stick stars between takes.

And now, after the Fast & Furious 6 debacle, it’s got a functioning film board that can fast-track permits.

This is the movies, so we can report rumour as gospel truth.

Back in 2012, the Fast & Furious producers wanted to film the whole kaboodle in Gran Canaria. But the permits took so long to appear that they jumped island to Tenerife. Gran Canaria only got the bridge scene because Tenerife doesn’t have one quite as spectacular.

Backsides were kicked, biros refilled and Gran Canaria now gets its papers shuffled faster than production teams can Google “tax breaks”.

We’re in the big leagues now.

More info from the Gran Canaria Film Commission.

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