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VisitBritain Says, "Come See the UK Like You've Seen it in the Movies"

Photo of Jacob Combs 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.
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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.

This article is related to: Awards


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.