Has anyone filmed in Paris recently or perhaps doubled somewhere else for the city?
TLG talks to Inception and Sherlock Holmes Location Manager Arnaud Kaiser
Born in Paris, Arnaud returned to the city at 18 to study cinema. He discovered all the different jobs that the industry offers and three years later he started to work as a location trainee. He rose through the ranks and became a Location Manager for feature films in 2008.
What do you like most about being a Location Manager?
What I like the most is the diversity of this job. Each project is a new adventure in which each day is different. You always meet very different people depending on the places where you shoot and every new experience makes you richer.
What has been your luckiest career break so far and why?
In fact, my career breaks have been meeting two people; Unit Production Manager Gilles Castera and Producer John Bernard. Gilles was Location Manager on the Bernardo Bertolucci movie The Dreamers when I first met him. It was my first movie as a location trainee and I discovered the reality of the work through Gilles. He then became my mentor, sharing with me his knowledge about all the different aspects of the job.
I’m always disappointed when I watch foreign movies that have exterior scenes that are supposed to be in Paris, but are shot somewhere else because these cheat locations look like anywhere but Paris.
John Bernard is the one who trusted me and gave me the opportunity to do my first movie as a Location Manager. It was a big Hollywood feature film and I was only 28 so he could have made the decision to work with a more experienced person. Now he keeps trusting me with this same will of sharing his knowledge with me.
What type of production do you prefer working on and why?
My favourite types are the most challenging ones like period movies and action movies.
Where is you favourite location?
Paris is my main playground and I like this city. People are very different depending on the disctrict where you shoot and the city is in a constant evolution. You always have to stay aware of what has become possible and what is not allowed anymore for shooting. You never get into a rut.
What has been the best cheat location you have worked on?
I’m used to working on foreign movies whose scripts have scenes that take place in France so as a general rule these companies come to France to shoot France. I’m always disappointed when I watch foreign movies that have exterior scenes that are supposed to be in Paris, for example, but are shot somewhere else because these cheat locations look like anywhere but Paris.
What has been your most challenging location assignment to date?
I would say the Paris café explosion on [Christopher Nolan's] Inception (pictured above). It was pretty exciting and challenging because the city of Paris is not used to seeing its streets blown away!
What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished the French shooting leg of [Guy Ritchie’s] Sherlock Holmes 2 (now called Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) and I’m now having a break.
The Paris café explosion on Inception was a challenge. It was pretty exciting and challenging because the city of Paris is not used to seeing its streets blown away!
What tips would you give to anyone considering filming for the first time in France?
I would advise them to first contact the French Film Commission. With its network of 40 local film commissions throughout the country they will be the best to answer any questions about shooting in France.
What would you consider to be the most film friendly hotels you use in France?
Accor group and Intercontinental Hotels Group are film-friendly.
Your favourite location caterer?
I'm used to working with Locafête because this caterer is able to provide a very good cook even if you have to feed a big number of people.
If you hadn’t become a Location Manager what would you have done instead?
Who knows. But by working in locations I realise what I like the most is to organise events, whatever they are, so I would probably work in that domain.
Global Filming Incentive - France (see more…)
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