You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hungarian Cast and Crew of ‘Red Sparrow’ Helped Spy Thriller Take Flight

Hungary was the first choice for Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Red Sparrow,” says David Ready, executive VP at Chernin, and a producer on the movie. The companies had previously shot Paul Feig’s “Spy,” starring Melissa McCarthy, in the country, which gave them the confidence to return for “Sparrow.”

“The ‘Spy’ experience was very good. Having made a movie there, a couple of years prior, there was a comfort level there,” Ready says.

The action in the novel on which “Red Sparrow” is based takes place principally in Helsinki and Moscow, but in the film Budapest replaces the Finnish city, as well as playing the Russian capital. Ready recalls the visit he made with others from the production team. “We discovered a gold mine in terms of beautiful locations to set our main story around,” he says.

The film, which was all location-based, used 65 separate locations. Budapest- based Pioneer Stillking Films provided production services on the shoot.

Hungary ticked all the boxes when choosing a production destination, Ready says. “First, there were all the locations we needed; second, there was amazing local production capacity and crew — in terms of working with Pioneer as a production partner — they were fabulous; we were in good hands.”

Last but not least, says Ready, “there were the tax breaks.”

Although most of the film’s department heads were not local, the majority of the crew were Hungarian. “The city was very welcoming to us. From a locations standpoint it was outstanding. We were able to get all the locations we wanted. From a filmmaking standpoint, it felt very fresh and new and undiscovered,” adds Ready.

A plus is that foreign cast and crew enjoy living in Budapest, with its safe and celebrity-friendly environment, plenty of five-star hotels and restaurants, and attractive surroundings. “[There was] hugely positive feedback. It was a great experience for everyone. The city was charming,” Ready says.

Another bonus for productions basing themselves in Hungary is that if they shoot some scenes outside the country and take cast and crew with them, some of the costs will still be eligible for the tax rebate. This happened with “Red Sparrow,” according to Pioneer managing director Ildiko Kemeny, when the film traveled to other locations in Vienna, Bratislava and London.

More Artisans

  • Bleed for This

    Rhode Island: A Tiny State With a Big Tax Incentive for Hollywood

    Hungary was the first choice for Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Red Sparrow,” says David Ready, executive VP at Chernin, and a producer on the movie. The companies had previously shot Paul Feig’s “Spy,” starring Melissa McCarthy, in the country, which gave them the confidence to return for “Sparrow.” “The ‘Spy’ experience was very good. Having […]

  • Katie Spencer and Sarah Greenwood Production

    'Darkest Hour,' 'Beauty and the Beast' Production Duo Face Themselves at Oscars

    Hungary was the first choice for Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Red Sparrow,” says David Ready, executive VP at Chernin, and a producer on the movie. The companies had previously shot Paul Feig’s “Spy,” starring Melissa McCarthy, in the country, which gave them the confidence to return for “Sparrow.” “The ‘Spy’ experience was very good. Having […]

  • Portugal Attracts U.S. Production With New

    Portugal Courts Hollywood With New Incentive

    Hungary was the first choice for Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Red Sparrow,” says David Ready, executive VP at Chernin, and a producer on the movie. The companies had previously shot Paul Feig’s “Spy,” starring Melissa McCarthy, in the country, which gave them the confidence to return for “Sparrow.” “The ‘Spy’ experience was very good. Having […]

  • Kazuhiro Tsuji Darkest Hour Makeup artist

    'Darkest Hour' Makeup Artist Left Retirement to Turn Gary Oldman Into Winston Churchill

    Hungary was the first choice for Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Red Sparrow,” says David Ready, executive VP at Chernin, and a producer on the movie. The companies had previously shot Paul Feig’s “Spy,” starring Melissa McCarthy, in the country, which gave them the confidence to return for “Sparrow.” “The ‘Spy’ experience was very good. Having […]

  • Rachel Morrison Cinematographer

    'Black Panther,' 'Mudbound' DP Rachel Morrison on Her Groundbreaking Oscar Nod

    Hungary was the first choice for Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Red Sparrow,” says David Ready, executive VP at Chernin, and a producer on the movie. The companies had previously shot Paul Feig’s “Spy,” starring Melissa McCarthy, in the country, which gave them the confidence to return for “Sparrow.” “The ‘Spy’ experience was very good. Having […]

  • 'Blade Runner 2049,' 'Dunkirk,' 'Game of

    'Blade Runner 2049,' 'Dunkirk,' 'Game of Thrones' Win Golden Reel Awards for Sound Editing

    Hungary was the first choice for Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Red Sparrow,” says David Ready, executive VP at Chernin, and a producer on the movie. The companies had previously shot Paul Feig’s “Spy,” starring Melissa McCarthy, in the country, which gave them the confidence to return for “Sparrow.” “The ‘Spy’ experience was very good. Having […]

  • Blade Runner 2049

    'Blade Runner 2049,' 'The Crown' Win ASC Awards for Cinematography

    Hungary was the first choice for Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Red Sparrow,” says David Ready, executive VP at Chernin, and a producer on the movie. The companies had previously shot Paul Feig’s “Spy,” starring Melissa McCarthy, in the country, which gave them the confidence to return for “Sparrow.” “The ‘Spy’ experience was very good. Having […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content