Hollywood to use HK for another backdrop

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 March, 2011, 12:00am

Four years after The Dark Knight descended on the city, Hong Kong's skyline and Victoria Harbour are set to feature in another Hollywood film. But this time there is no superhero.

On Monday and Tuesday, subject to the Civil Aviation Department's approval, a film crew in a helicopter will be circling above the harbour.

Pop singer Rihanna will make her movie debut in the science fiction naval-war film Battleship, directed by former actor Peter Berg. One of the scenes will be set in Victoria Harbour, but Rihanna's fans may be disappointed - none of the cast will be in the city.

Line producer Chu Chen-on, from production services company October Pictures, said only some general aerial scenes would be shot. 'It is the characteristic dense skyscrapers that attracted the filmmaker,' Chu said.

The film was named after a pencil and paper game, in which players try to destroy each other's fleet.

In the film plot, a navy fleet must battle a group of aliens known as the Regents. The aliens, which are not aiming to conquer humans, want to build a power source in the ocean, but then they encounter the fleet.

Chu would only say that a meteor shower will be added to the city's sky during post-production.

Whether the audience will see an alien attacking Hong Kong remains a secret.

'It is their commercial secret. Even I do not know much about it,' he said.

A Civil Aviation Department spokeswoman said the application for filming was still being considered.

Chu said he did not know about the application as the helicopter operator had submitted it.

Eastern District residents were informed about the shooting, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday from 8am to 6pm. A helicopter will fly over the harbour around Sai Wan Ho, Shau Kei Wan and Lantau Island.

Chu said the helicopter would fly as low as 60 metres above Yiu Tung Estate.

Lower Yiu Tung district councillor Hui Ko-hoo expressed concern over the possible noise nuisance.

But Chu gave assurances that the noise would be 'similar to buses running on roads'.

Scenes for Batman: The Dark Knight were filmed in Hong Kong in 2007. The film crew's week-long schedule involving a helicopter and a low-flying C130 aircraft raised the hackles of several number of Central and Western District councillors because of noise and traffic concerns.

The Battleship cast includes Liam Neeson, an Oscar nominee for his role in Schindler's List, American model Brooklyn Decker, Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgard and Rihanna.

Skarsgard is best known for playing the vampire Eric Northman in the HBO TV series True Blood.

Battleship is due for release in May next year.