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Hollywood Seduced by the Canary Islands

Due to the exceptional natural beauty and privileged weather of the area, the Canary Islands have long been an international filming hub. Now the Islands might also host an upcoming prequel of the Game of Thrones.

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Francesc Garrido recuerda cómo disfrutaba de un buen pescado, de la familiaridad de la gente y de los baños en el mar que tomaba, a veces bien entrada la noche, después de finalizar las escenas más duras de La Sala, donde interpreta a un policía experto en interrogatorios convertido en asesino: «Nadar en el mar me salvó la vida, era mi manera de desconectar y recuperarme de la intensa presión del trabajo, y poco a poco se fueron sumando otros compañeros». Para su partenaire en la serie, Goya Toledo, que es nativa de Lanzarote («un sitio mágico, cuando viene la gente se enamora») rodar en Gran Canaria le devolvió recuerdos de su infancia: «Ha sido un viaje emocional en el tiempo que me pone los pelos de punta», explicaba en algunos medios locales.

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When you investigate the Canary Islands as a place to visit it’s often just the headline beaches and tourist spots that come up on search engines, but actually the island has more to offer. The islands “has little corners of great beauty,” says the Spanish actor Francesc Garrido who has been in love with the Canary Islands for two decades. “When I was filming there I was very lucky that the production team discovered small coves with places to eat… I love walking alone through Roque Nublo, the nature area in Tejeda,” he adds.

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Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros), whose cast is led by Gal Gadot, is among a number of high profiles films made in the Canary Islands. The film was shot in 2018 in such locations as the Natural Park of the Dunes of Corralejo and the beach of of El Jablito (both in Fuerteventura). According to the Fuerteventura Film Commission the production added 20 million euros to the economy of the island. Tenerife also provided a home for the film-makers. Scenes were shot on the Teno massif and in Masca (a remote location which had already been used for filming the Clash of the Titans in 2009). It isn’t just the production scouts for Wonder Woman who have seen potential in the Canary Islands. In June 2017 filming for Solo: A Star Wars Story (Disney) was located in the Pecenescal Valley of Fuerteventura. The magnificent dunes and spectacular ravine in the locality were judged to be more than worthy for an intergalactic adventure. The list of hit films shot on the Canary Islands doesn’t end there. In 2016 Robert Zemeckis filmed Allies with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard on the archipelago. Likewise, in 2018 different parts of Tenerife were the subject of filming for the fifth part of the Rambo saga, a large production starring Sylvester Stallone. It was to the surprise of the chicharreros (as the inhabitants of the island’s capital are known) when Stallone and his entourage strolled through the centre of Santa Cruz. 

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The Universe of the Game of Thrones 

In the spring of 2019 the final season of the Game of Thrones was premiered worldwide. Fans of the series created by writer George R. R. Martin will be delighted to hear that the American production company HBO are preparing a prequel. And the Canary Islands could well be chosen as one of the filming locations.  

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This new series (which some have claimed has been provisionally titled the Long Night) will move the story of the seven kingdoms to a time 8,000 years before the Game of Thrones. According to the producer of the series, we will discover “the terrible secrets of the history of Westeros” during a harsh winter in which the white walkers and humankind are engaged in a terrible war. The mysteries of strange places will also be unveiled as Daenerys Targaryen journeys to the lands of the east to create her army.

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Jane Goldman (the writer of two X-Men films) will lead the creative side of the project in collaboration with George R. R. Martin. As is usual with big productions information about the series is coming out in drips and drabs, but it has already been confirmed that Naomi Watts (an actor in the Impossible and King Kong) will star. With speculation swirling around locations in Tenerife, Gran Canaria and La Palma, excitement has been growing on the Canary Islands as to which places might be used for filming. Locations scouts will be spoilt for choice. The Canary Islands is full of environments that are just waiting to be turned into fantasy worlds: there are subtropical forests, sandy deserts and black sand beaches.

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Once the cameras roll, the Canary Islands will join a host of great Spanish places in which chapters from the Game of Thrones have been shot. This will give the islands an economic boost. Data gathered from Girona, Seville, Cáceres and the Basque coast suggests that being chosen as a location for a series by George R. R. Martin has significant knock-on effects for the tourist industry.