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WIMBLEDON

About The Location
It was clear to the producers the only location to shoot the majority of the tennis scenes of the film (off and on court) would be the world-famous Wimbledon…and it would be essential to be able to film during the 2003 championships. Once the script had been completed, Working Title's Eric Fellner had a fortunate meeting with Mark McCormack, the founder and head of the International Management Group (IMG), the world's best-known sports marketing and promotions agency. McCormack introduced Fellner to the chairman of AELTCC and brokered a deal, which resulted in the production being granted permission to film at Wimbledon, giving the filmmakers, cast and crew unprecedented access.

Tim Phillips, Chairman of the Committee of Management of the Championships, explains why. "We're very proud of Wimbledon and its unique position in the tennis world and we're rightly protective of this. But the consideration that overrode this is that tennis is fun and it's a wonderful game. Anyone can play it—boys and girls, from the ages of five to 95—and it's social and healthy, a wonderful sport. We have an interest in popularizing it. Working Title Films has made a succession of outstanding romantic comedies and we thought that a film located at Wimbledon showing the fun and the competitiveness of tennis might spark interest in a completely new audience.”

"The AELTCC were fantastic partners to work with,” adds Fellner. "It was a great privilege to be able to film at the Club and rather special when you stand in the middle of Centre Court.”

The by-laws of Wimbledon dictate that no one plays on Centre Court (outside of tournament players) except for the Chairman and his guests. So filmmakers, cast and crew were all mindful of the magnanimous gesture extended by the AELTCC and respectful of the ground on which they were standing, filming and ‘playing' tennis.

"Wimbledon is an enormous operation and I've been duly impressed by the organization,” comments Loncraine. "It only comes alive two weeks out of the year, and yet when it does—with the world watching, mind you—an incredible amount of activity takes place. When we got here during the finals, there was so much going on I hardly knew where to point the camera. It felt so big and I didn't want it to dwarf our story. So we made the conscious decision to confine our Wimbledon to a smaller section of it, which is the older part, one end of it, really.”

Since the All England Club is private, part of the area that Loncraine wanted utilized in the film—namely, the locker rooms—had to be replicated, since only members are allowed in the actual locker rooms; production built their own. (Cash adds, "To be honest, I think ours are maybe a little nicer.”)

The filmmakers and crew also had to take specific precautions while filming on the Wimbledon grounds. "The main precautions were really to protect against all the equipment that the crew use,” comments grounds man of the AELTCC, Eddie Seagal. "Normally, this is something completely alien to us, having all this equipment present and people walking on the court. All the equipment was put on boards spreading the load and the weight, and that worked well. Certain drinks were not allowed to be drunk on the turf, as they can damage the grass. Food was not allowed on the court so as not to attract the foxes in the evenings, which was a danger, as the daily filming prevented us from putting up our electronic fences around the courts—we normally do this after the championship.”

Seagal and the organization were pleased with the crew's compliance and determined that the departing production left the turf in a state approximating its original condition.

The extra special efforts to film in this extra special place were felt to be well worth it for cast and crew. Dunst was awed by the setting of the film'

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