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Colin Firth submarine movie postpones Russia filming

Kremlin bell towerA new movie starring Colin Firth telling the true story of the Kursk submarine disaster of 2000 has had to postpone planned location filming in Russia.

The Kursk was a Russian nuclear submarine that was stricken beneath the Barents Sea – in the southern Arctic Ocean – following explosions on board that killed all 118 crew.

The film – Kursk – is being produced by Luc Besson through his company EuropaCorp.

Earlier this year the Russian defence ministry announced it would be supporting the shoot, but now a planned month of filming in the country has been put back.

Permitting is still under review, apparently amid new concerns over allowing access to military locations and classified information, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Russia is not regarded as a particularly film-friendly part of the world and renewed East-West political tensions over the past couple of years have not eased relationships with European or Hollywood filmmakers.

Bruce Willis’ 2013 action sequel A Good Die to Day Hard largely used Hungarian capital Budapest as a stand-in for Moscow. More recently, the BBC’s epic miniseries adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace filmed limited scenes in locations including St Petersburg, but mostly shot Lithuania as a more cost-effective Russia.

Submarine stories are inherently challenging to film due to the confined nature of the setting. Kevin Macdonald’s Black Sea filmed scenes on a 1960s-era Russian submarine now privately owned in south-east England, and also built a set at Pinewood Studios.

Gerard Butler is currently working on submarine drama Hunter Killer, which is filming at Ealing Studios in London, and in Bulgaria. 

For more on filming in Russia see our production guide.