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Hollywood hits Tampere as sci-fi movie begins production

The decision to relocate filming to Finland was influenced by Finnish authorities' handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kuvakombossa ovat Aaron Paul ja Karen Gillan.
'Dual' will star Aaron Paul and Karen Gillan. Image: AOP, kuvankäsittely: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

Hollywood movie director Riley Stearns, best known for the films Faults and The Art of Self-Defense, is filming his latest project in the city of Tampere after the coronavirus crisis halted production in the United States.

The satirical sci-fi thriller Dual has a budget of five million dollars, or 4.3 million euros, and will star Scottish star Karen Gillan and American actor Aaron Paul.

The film is set to be the first Hollywood production to be made from start to finish in Finland. Shooting will take an estimated six weeks and will provide employment for hundreds of people in the city.

Gillan, best known for her role as Nebula in the Avengers films and as Amelia Pond in the British TV series Dr Who, revealed via a photo published on her Instagram account on Wednesday that filming has already begun.

Story continues after photo.

SV Karen Gillanin IG 22.10.2020

Her co-star, the Emmy-winning actor Aaron Paul, is best known for his role in the crime drama series Breaking Bad.

Location decision influenced by handling of coronavirus crisis

The decision to film in Tampere was influenced by Finland’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the film producer’s Aram Tertzakian.

"The Finnish people and the Finnish government have done such a good job of curbing the coronavirus pandemic that it was easier for us to make the decision to shoot here rather than anywhere else," Tertzakian told Yle.

The decision was also swayed by the Helsinki-based private equity fund IPR.VC, which is one of the financiers of the production company XYZ Films.

Director Stearns said he is relieved and delighted that filming can finally go ahead, as filming in the United States ground to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic during the spring. He added that using Tampere as the location will add a sense of mystery and intrigue to the film.

"Since arriving over a month ago, I continue to find myself inspired by the city of Tampere," Stearns said. "It has informed the look and feel of Dual in ways I never could have imagined while writing the script. I’m excited for audiences to see the world we’re able to create thanks to filming here."

Finland has been the filming location for a number of notable movies throughout the history of Hollywood, including when Helsinki doubled as St Petersburg for the 1965 epic Doctor Zhivago, the 1985 drama musical White Nights and, more recently, the 2011 action film Hanna, shot in Lapland.

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