By Jacob Combs | Thompson on Hollywood February 24, 2012 at 7:30AM
Hollywood's always felt comfortable relying on British talent in its films and this year's awards round-up is no exception: It was a new British director that made the second half of the Harry Potter franchise so successful and British actor Gary Oldman's George Smiley is certainly one of 2011's roles to remember. Now VisitBritain, the official tourism agency of the United Kingdom, is looking to use Hollywood portrayals of Great Britain to encourage Americans to visit their English-speaking neighbors across the Atlantic.
For the Anglophile moviegoer and tourist, there's certainly plenty to fashion a busy trip out of, from the Harry Potter studio tour (for those who would understandably rather experience the world of the boy wizard in London, rather than Orlando), to the sweeping scenery of Wiltshire village, where Stephen Spielberg filmed part of "War Horse" (remember, a stirring John Williams score is not included in the price of admission). Or if you're a history buff, you could take in the Manchester Town Hall, which "The Iron Lady" director Phyllida Lloyd used as a stand-in for London's Westminster Palace.
Yet, we will admit that some of VisitBritain's vacation suggestions are a bit, well, offbeat. (Would we really want to go to London's famous Geo. F. Trumper barbershop simply because it's featured in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"?) Still, we Americans have been making movies about the Brits for years. Maybe it's time for us to return the favor.