Why Notting Hill residents are calling 'cut' on filming
Thursday 04 October 2007
Richard Neville, editor of the satirical magazine Oz, called his memoirs Hippie Hippie Shake: the Dreams, the Trips, the Trials, the Love-ins, the Screw-ups. Now after nearly 10 years in development, and two false starts behind it, the making of the film of his life is living up to this billing.
With the teething problems overcome, and despite some vituperative criticism from the feminist author Germaine Greer – one of the real-life characters being depicted in the film named simply Hippie Hippie Shake – the production company Working Title was all set to start the cameras rolling.
But they appeared to have misjudged the feeling of the people of Notting Hill, whose white stuccoed homes were to feature as the backdrop for much of the period action starring Sienna Miller as Neville's girlfriend, Louise Ferrier, and Cillian Murphy as the counter-culture leader himself.
Some 20 people contacted the local council expressing concern over the filming plan, not because of the famous nude scenes already shot in Ladbroke Grove, but because of fears over the disruption caused by three days of shooting and that swathes of resident parking bays were being suspended as film-makers cleared the streets of modern day Toyota Priuses to replace them with authentic Sixties Ford Anglias.
"When they first talked about it, the requests were fairly ridiculous," said one councillor.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea suggested Working Title meet the locals to put their minds at rest. A room at the Pelican pub on All Saints Road was booked and all but two of the complainants' minds were put at rest after offers to compensate them – "quite handsomely" – for the inconvenience.
The burghers of west London have had a bellyful of film crews of late, not least after Hugh Grant turned the area into an international tourist destination with the film Notting Hill, also made by Working Title.
"Notting Hill may have been a successful film, but it has caused absolute havoc," said the councillor, who asked not to be named.
"There is not one day in the week now when people who live and work around Portobello Road have any peace and quiet. There are hordes of people all the time. Fridays and Saturdays are unbelievable and on Sundays there are always crowds parading around still looking for that blue door which was sold to America years ago."
A council spokesman said: "Some residents did complain to the council, but once the company had contacted the residents the vast majority were reassured."
Much of the publicity surrounding the film has centred on Miller's nude scenes, reported to have taken place in Ladbroke Grove surrounded by residential flats. Stills from the shoot flooded the internet, enraging the star.
It has also been reported Miller was told by the producers to ease up on her exercise regime to give her the full-bodied shape sported in the flower-power era.
Greer, meanwhile, wrote of her disgust at the resurrection of the Oz saga, describing Neville as "one of the least talented people on the London scene in the Sixties".
W11 in the movies
L Shaped Room (1962):
Devastating look at slum life set in St Luke's Road
West 11 (1963):
Duke of Wellington pub on Portobello Road features in early work from the director Michael Winner
Hard Day's Night: (1964):
Ringo Starr escapes screaming fans though streets of W11
Blow Up (1966):
Archetypal swinging London film about a Notting Hill photographer
The Italian Job (1969):
Michael Caine plans heist of the century at Denbigh Mews
Absolute Beginners (1986):
Julien Temple's Teddy Boy epic climaxes at the Notting Hill Carnival
Withnail and I (1987):
Down on their luck heroes are chased from the Tavistock Hotel pub
Jack and Sarah (1995):
Richard E Grant returns to west London bookstore
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