Filming will start next week on Hollywood movie of Sparkwell zoo story
FILMING is due to start next week on the Hollywood movie based on a Sparkwell zoo.
The star-studded cast, including Scarlett Johansson, Matt Damon, Thomas Haden-Church and Colin Ford, is due to begin production on the Cameron Crowe-directed film on Monday.
Despite the movie being based on 'We Bought A Zoo' – the mémoire of the Dartmoor Zoological Park owner Ben Mee – filming is taking place on a specially-made Hollywood set.
Filming is anticipated to last for 50 days and the film will be hitting cinemas on December 23, 2011.
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It is hoped that Mr Mee, writer of the book on which the film is based, will visit the set during the filming.
He has already received a personal letter from Cameron Crowe expressing his enthusiasm for the story.
Matt Damon has been named as the star to play Benjamin, with his son played by Ford (Supernatural) and his brother by Haden Church (Sideways, Spiderman 3).
Johansson is playing a keeper who will also become a love interest.
Higgins is to be a zoo inspector and is anticipated to add a touch of humour to the role. "It is really exciting to think that they will start filming in just a matter of days," said Mr Mee.
"The cast and crew involved are tremendous and we really hope this puts both Plymouth and Dartmoor Zoological Park on the map.
"I hope that I will make it to the set after the start of filming and, judging by the letter from Cameron Crowe, I am confident that this will be a truly fantastic film."
Dartmoor Zoo was purchased by the Mee family in 2007, along with more than 200 animals.
The movie is key to the survival of Dartmoor Zoological Park, which is set to receive a substantial financial contribution from 20th Century Fox.