Hollywood in Hertfordshire: 17 film stars and movie directors who have visited Welwyn Hatfield

Arnold Schwarzenegger visits Tesco HQ in Welwyn Garden City in 2012.

Arnold Schwarzenegger visits Tesco HQ in Welwyn Garden City in 2012. - Credit: Kevin Lines / Archant

With the Hollywood studios were movie La La Land was made planning a £700million film and TV production complex in Hertfordshire, more Tinseltown stars could be heading to the county.

LA's Sunset Studios is looking to build a huge production base in the borough of Broxbourne.

Artist impression of the proposed Sunset Studios development in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.

Artist impression of the proposed Sunset Studios development in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. - Credit: Business Wire

Welwyn Hatfield, which borders Broxbourne, regularly appears on screen in the movies and on TV, so it's no surprise some big Hollywood names have visited, even if it's not always for filming.

Oscar winners, stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, action heroes, and world famous film directors have all passed through Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield over the years.

Everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Steven Spielberg and La La Land Oscar winner Emma Stone to Alfred Hitchcock has paid the borough a visit.

Here's 17 Hollywood movie stars and film directors who have visited Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire.


1. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Tesco HQ in Welwyn Garden City back in 2012.

Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Tesco HQ in Welwyn Garden City back in 2012. - Credit: Kevin Lines / Archant

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Terminator star Arnie visited Welwyn Garden City back in 2012 for a private book signing event.

He dropped into Tesco's Shire Park headquarters to publicise his book Total Recall. And, yes, he did say his Terminator catchphrase: "I'll be back!"

Welwyn Garden City is still waiting...


2. Tom Hanks

Saving Private Ryan. Picture: Dreamworks/Paramount Pictures

Saving Private Ryan. Picture: Dreamworks/Paramount Pictures

From Saving Private Ryan to Band of Brothers, Oscar winner Tom Hanks was a filming regular in Hatfield during the 1990s.

Both the above productions were shot on location at the former de Havilland factory site in Hatfield, while the grounds of Hatfield House were also used for scenes of Band of Brothers.


3. Dame Olivia de Havilland

Olivia de Havilland holding her Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters certificate, awarded by the Uni

Olivia de Havilland holding her Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters certificate, awarded by the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, during its degree presentation ceremony at St Albans Cathedral in 1998. The Gone With The Wind actress died last year aged 104. - Credit: PA

As the cousin of Hatfield aviation pioneer Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, the Oscar-winning actress – one of the stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood – visited the borough.

The Gone With The Wind legend also received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire, and was a guest at the College Lane Campus in 1997 for the unveiling of the statue of her cousin, Sir Geoffrey de Havilland. 


4. Emma Stone

Oscar winner Emma Stone stars in The Favourite, which was filmed at Hatfield House. In this picture

Oscar winner Emma Stone stars in The Favourite, which was filmed at Hatfield House. In this picture Stone's character Abigail can be seen in the King James Drawing Room at Hatfield House. Picture: Fox Searchlight Pictures. - Credit: Supplied by BFI London Film Festival / Element Pictures / Scarlet Films

The La La Land star arrived in Hatfield for filming of movie The Favourite not long after winning an Oscar in 2017.

She gained another Academy Award nomination for her role as servant Abigail in Yorgos Lanthimos' black comedy drama set in Queen Anne's court. 

Approximately 85 per cent of the movie was shot on location at Hatfield House and in the surrounding parkland and gardens in the spring of 2017.

Backers of Hollywood's Sunset Studios where La La Land was made are now looking to build a new £700m film and TV studios in Herts.


5. Steven Spielberg

A bust of film director Steven Spielberg made by Lifecast at Elstree Studios.

A bust of film director Steven Spielberg made by Lifecast at Elstree Studios. - Credit: Elstree Studios

The legendary film director made Saving Private Ryan on the former British Aerospace airfield in Hatfield.

He won an Oscar for the movie.

Spielberg had earlier in his career made Raiders of the Lost Ark at Elstree Studios, as well as follow-ups Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with Harrison Ford in the lead role.


6. Mark Wahlberg

Christopher Plummer as John Paul Getty and Mark Wahlberg at Fletcher Chace in All The Money In The W

Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty and Mark Wahlberg at Fletcher Chace in All The Money In The World in a scene filmed at Hatfield House. - Credit: Archant

The Hollywood star visited Hatfield House for filming of Ridley Scott thriller All The Money In The World – shooting the same scenes at the Hertfordshire stately home twice.

Transformers and Boogie Nights actor Wahlberg got called back to Hatfield for last-minute reshoots when Kevin Spacey was axed from the film.

Which brings us to...


7. Christopher Plummer

Christopher Plummer is J. Paul Getty in All The Money In The World. Photo: Sony Pictures

Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty in All The Money In The World. - Credit: Archant

When Kevin Spacey was cut from All The Money in The World just weeks before its release, director Ridley Scott reshot all of Spacey's scenes with The Sound of Music legend Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty.

This meant returning to Hatfield House, which was doubling for the Getty's country residence.

Spacey's replacement as billionaire businessman J. Paul Getty, veteran actor Plummer, gained a best supporting Oscar nomination.

If you compare the two film trailers released for All The Money In The World – the original one with Spacey as Getty and then the re-edited version with Plummer playing the billionaire – you can see the difference in the seasons in the private East Garden at Hatfield House. 

The reshoots took place just weeks ahead of the film's scheduled December 2017 release while the original filming took place in the summer.


8. Alfred Hitchcock

The Master of Suspense's 1935 adaptation of John Buchan’s classic adventure novel The 39 Steps includes scenes filmed at the former Welwyn Studios off Broadwater Road in Welwyn Garden City

Alfred Hitchcock returned to WGC to make a couple of World War Two propaganda films – Bon Voyage and Aventure Malgache – to aid the war effort.

He had earlier in his career made Britain's first 'talkie' movie, Blackmail, at the studios in Elstree.

The poster that helped to entice cinema-goers into the dark to watch Alfred Hitchcock's ground-break

The poster that helped to entice cinema-goers into the dark to watch Alfred Hitchcock's ground-breaking 1929 film, Blackmail [Picture: Studiocanal Films Limited] - Credit: Studiocanal Films Limited


9. Johnny Depp

A number of movies starring Johnny Depp have been made at Hatfield House, although the former Pirates of the Caribbean star doesn't appear in all of the scenes filmed at the Herts stately home.

Think Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, The Libertine, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory – Hatfield House doubled for Veruca Salt's family home in Buckinghamshire – and art-heist comedy caper Mortdecai with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor.

Depp also directed controversial Babybird music video Unloveable on the Hatfield estate with Stephen Graham, more recently in BBC's Line of Duty, playing a hangman.


10. Gwyneth Paltrow

File photo of Gwyneth Paltrow. She won an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, which includes scenes filmed in Hatfield.

File photo of Gwyneth Paltrow. She won an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, which includes scenes filmed in Hatfield. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Speaking of Gwyneth Paltrow, the Oscar-winning actress has made a couple of movies in Hatfield.

She shot scenes of Shakespeare in Love at Hatfield House, sharing the silver screen with Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth I.

Paltrow returned to the Hertfordshire stately home for the largely forgotten Johnny Depp movie Mortdecai, playing the debonair art dealer and part-time rogue's wife, Johanna.

 


11. Angelina Jolie

Twenty years ago Hatfield House doubled for Croft Manor on screen in the Lara Croft movie starring Angelina Jolie.

You can see the house and its gardens in 2001 action adventure Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and again in 2003 sequel The Cradle of Life, in which Lara Croft trains in martial arts with butler Hillary (Chris Barrie) in the armoury and library.


12. Michael Keaton

From Croft Manor to Wayne Manor, Tim Burton's 1989 Batman blockbuster starring Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader was also filmed in Hatfield.

Hatfield House and Knebworth House teamed up to double on screen as the interior and exterior of Wayne Manor in the movie.

Scenes inside Hatfield House include Bruce Wayne's gaming room in the Long Gallery, while the Marble Hall is the armoury where Keaton's character meets Kim Basinger's Vicki Vale and then spies on her and Alexander Knox through a two-way mirror.



13. Gal Gadot

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the action adventure sequel Wonder Woman 1984.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the action adventure sequel Wonder Woman 1984. Scenes of the earlier Wonder Woman origin movie were filmed at Hatfield House. - Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment / Clay Enos / ™ & © DC Comics

From one superhero to another. While Michael Keaton's Batman held a fundraiser in the Long Gallery at Hatfield House, the same room was the scene of the German High Command gala in 2017's Wonder Woman.

The movie stars Gal Gadot at Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, and she strides down the Long Gallery in a blue dress with a sword tucked down her back.

Scenes from sequel Wonder Woman 1984 were shot at IWM Duxford


14. Richard Attenborough

Welwyn Studios

Welwyn Studios was based in Broadwater Road, Welwyn Garden City. - Credit: Supplied by UH Arts / University of Hertfordshire

Studio scenes from 1948 British gangster film noir Brighton Rock were filmed at the Welwyn Studios site in Welwyn Garden City.

Adapted from the 1938 novel by Graham Greene, Richard Attenborough played sadistic teenage gangster Pinkie Brown in the Boulting brothers' classic.


15. Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel stars as Dom Toretto in Fast & Furious 9.

Vin Diesel stars as Dom Toretto in Fast & Furious 9. - Credit: Universal Pictures.

A then little known Vin Diesel played Adrian Caparzo in Saving Private Ryan back in the 1990s.

Now a big Hollywood star, Vin Diesel filmed the tuner party of the latest Fast Saga movie, Fast & Furious 9, in the grounds of Hatfield House.

A producer of F9 as well as starring as Dom Toretto, Vin Diesel shared the information during filming in the summer of 2019 by posting on set videos from Hatfield to his Instagram page.



16. Robert Downey Jr.

Guy Ritchie filmed scenes of both his Sherlock Holmes movies on location in his hometown of Hatfield.

Iron Man and Avengers star Robert Downey Jr, as Arthur Conan Doyle's detective, features in scenes in the first Sherlock Holmes movie shot in the Long Gallery at Hatfield House.

When the famous sleuth visits arch rival Moriarty (Jared Harris) in his study in 2011 sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the scene takes place in the library at Hatfield House.


17. Bette Davis

One of the greats of Hollywood, two-time Oscar winner Bette Davis starred in 1985 British-American TV movie Murder with Mirrors.

The Agatha Christie mystery was filmed on location at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire and also starred Helen Hayes – the 'First Lady of American Theatre' – in her final film role.

In Murder with Mirrors, Miss Marple (Hayes) is reunited with her old American friend Carrie Louise Serrocold (Davis). Christian Gilbranson, Miss Marple's lawyer, persuades her to visit the estate of his stepmother, Carrie Louise.

Carrie Louise's husband Lewis (Sir John Mills) has turned the manor house Stonygates – filmed at Brocket Hall – into a halfway house for young criminals. 

Gilbranson is later found dead and the house is full of suspects. Well it wouldn't be Agatha Christie without a murder to solve.

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