Steven Spielberg's war epic '1917' is being made at Low Force, sources say.
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
SPECULATION is rife that film crews that have been operating at Low Force over the past three months are making a Hollywood blockbuster about the First World War.
A major film is being made at the beauty spot. Tracks have been made through meadows to provide access to the falls, tents are being put up and security teams have been in operation. One security guard told the Mercury the film being made is '1917', which is being produced by Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks Pictures.
Divers from Aqua Films were active at Low Force for much of April while the stretch of the River Tees between Low Force and High Force was closed off to canoeists.
Aqua Films is thought to be of the crews working on the movie 1917. It stars the likes of Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Sam Mendes, who oversaw the James Bond film Skyfall, is directing the movie.
Filming of 1917 began this spring in various parts of the country.
Initially a film crew spent several days at Low Force at the end of March, with much of the Bowlees Visitor Centre carpark being taken up by their vehicles.
Simon Wilson, of the North Pennines Partnership, which manages the visitor centre, confirmed discussions with representatives of a film production company had been taking place for about a year.
He said: “They were down at the river for quite a few days and we certainly let them use our carpark as part of their visit. It looks like Low Force is clearly somewhere that they are interested in.”
He added that use of the carpark had been the extent of his contact with the movie crew and the partnership had agreed they could use the facilities at Bowlees to limit the impact of large vehicles on residents and the community.
Those working at the Low Force location have been tight-lipped about what they were working on, saying they could neither confirm nor deny involvement in the film. Some confirmed they were bound by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
Speculation that it is indeed part of 1917 being filmed began when people involved in the initial scouting of the area were identified as being from StoryWorks Productions. While Storyworks is mostly involve in short films, several of its staff are working on the 1917 movie.
In addition, Aqua Films, which was at Low Force, is run by Daren Bailey. Daren Baily is recognised on film website IMDB as the dive co-ordinator for 1917.
Mr Bailey has previously been involved with movies and television programmes such as Game of Thrones, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Mama Mia!, Wonder Woman, Jason Bourne and both Johnny English movies
Mr Mendes' company Neal Street Productions has revealed that 1917 follows the story of two young British soldiers on a single day at the height of the First World War. It was co-written by Mr Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns.
Other actors involved include Mark Strong, Richard Madden, Dean Charles Chapman and George MacKay.
Filming is also taking place on Salisbury Plain, near Stonehenge, where a number of groups objected to plans to build a set comprising of a temporary French farmhouse, over fears it could impact on as yet undiscovered archaeological remains.
Planning permission was also sought to shoot part of the movie at Glasgow's historic Govan Graving Docks.