Just as tourists flock to Northern Ireland to visit the locations where “Game of Thrones” is shot, and to Highclere Castle in England, where both exterior and interior filming of “Downton Abbey” took place, so too Malta is aiming to draw visitors who want to retrace the steps of stars.
To attract fans of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the island nation has made it clear to the world that its stunning shores served as the location for the filming of “By the Sea,” the duo’s recent pic in which they play a couple whose lethargic marriage is shaken by the sights and people of the Mediterranean. Jolie wrote and directed.
In the film, the nearby island of Gozo doubles for the French Riviera in the 1970s.
“We have hosted big names from the film industry,” says Malta film commissioner Engelbert Grech. “These films are a boost to Malta’s tourism industry, attracting visitors to see locations featured in their favorite movies and follow (in the actors’) footsteps.”
Riding the wave of interest in the film, Malta’s Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay has launched a package it calls the Gozo Movie Tour, which includes a speedboat trip to Gozo and a visit to the area where the celebrity couple stayed and the crew filmed the movie’s most picturesque scenes.
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Malta’s history as a filming location dates back to 1925. “By the Sea” happens to be the third movie Brad Pitt has shot on the island, following “Troy” and “World War Z.” Other Malta-shot projects include “Gladiator,” “Captain Phillips” and season one of “Game of Thrones.”
These and other projects have put the small nation on the filmmaking map. “They play a major role in enhancing the visibility of our island on a wider global scale,” says Grech.