Written by on Feb 8, 2010. Posted in Production News

Spanish military airport doubles for Baghdad in Green Zone

The desert-like landscape of south-eastern Spain made famous by spaghetti westerns in the 1960s has been used to double for Baghdad in several scenes from war drama Green Zone.

Brit director Paul Greengrass’ latest film stars Matt Damon as a US military warrant officer who gets embroiled in a political conspiracy as he searches for weapons of mass destruction in the early days of the second Iraq war.

Los Alcazares is a military airport in Spain next to Murcia Airport and was used to double for Baghdad Airport. Cristina Ecija of Spanish production services company Kanzaman said the Ministry of Defence in Spain authorised the shoot after many meetings.

She added: “Have a very clear idea of what you are aiming to do, before you even contact the military. It is also a good idea to have a military consultant who works or has worked at that base.” She said small nominal fees were paid for the use of government buildings and larger scenes were shot at weekends to minimise disruption.

Terry Blyther, the film’s location manager, said: “The Spanish military was very helpful. We used humvees, a Hercules plane and helicopters and we used the nearby Alicante studios as our production base during the six or seven weeks we were there.”

The airport sees a mixture of military and civilian flights and presented a convenient airbase that matched the needs of the story, while the backdrop was suitably desert-like.

Paul Kirby, supervising art director on the film, said: “Jordan was considered as a shoot location, but the presence of the military airfield in Spain was crucial. Also, Murcia Airport had good palm trees for the background.”

Mr Blyther added that the production had planned to shoot in Alicante Studios until script changes prompted a re-think.

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