BEHIND THE LENS
The woman responsible for closing the Capital for Tom Cruise tells all


Sue Quinn is a Location Manager whose career in the British film industry has spanned two decades. She was recently awarded the Panavision Project Management Award at the 2014 Production Guild of Great Britain Awards, particularly for her work on Edge of Tomorrow.

 

Sue recently finished Guy Ritchie's forthcoming spy thriller The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and is currently working on the upcoming live action Tarzan.

 

What I love most about my job is that no two days are ever the same. In the past 20 years, I've literally travelled the length and breadth of Britain, and beyond. Whether a film requires a fine country manor for a classic period drama, a remote beach on which to build a house from scratch, or landing helicopters in unusual places, each one brings its own unique challenges to rise to.

 

Closing Trafalgar Square for 3 hours for Edge of Tomorrow was a particularly complex one, but you just have to approach these things with the mind-set that nothing is impossible. Yes, it took a lot of work – getting the go ahead from the Mayor of London's office to see if it were even possible, closing the roads, shutting off the fountains, and liaising with Westminster Abbey security, and all the churches, embassies, museums and ministerial buildings in the area. Not to mention, of course, making sure we didn't disturb the Queen's Horse Guards. But, it was all worth it for that moment in the film where Tom Cruise's character lands a Puma military helicopter in such an iconic and recognisable part of our Capital.

 

Filming in London has become far more possible due the Metropolitan Police Service Film Unit, who are hugely helpful with road closures, and Transport for London, who for example helped us on Edge of Tomorrow by rerouting 73 travel routes. And, of course, there's the support of the Mayor of London's office and the City of Westminster. Quite often it's a case of talking to all the residents and businesses in an area about filming plans, and making sure everyone is happy.

 

When we shot the scene where Hugh Grant walks through four seasons in one shot along Portobello Road in 1999's Notting Hill, our team wrote to thousands of residents in the area, promising to donate to each person's favourite charity as a thank you, resulting in 200 charities receiving money. The result was a truly memorable scene that really sticks in people's minds.

 

There is no real rulebook in this industry; you have to make opportunities come to you by meeting people, and following work from job to job. I've gained such great pleasure from working in locations, and working with so many talented and creative people across the country – I consider myself very privileged to be passionate about what I do!

 

 

 

"I have had the pleasure of working with Sue many times over the last decade, and there has never been a location she has not managed to get us permission to film, whether it be the wilds of Scotland or in the heart of London. When finding locations she has a unique ability of understanding the Director's vision, but also keeping very aware of the Production requirements and capabilities." Tim Lewis, Co-Producer (Edge of Tomorrow)

“There is no rulebook in this industry; you make opportunities come to you.”

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