2Based on the novel titled ‘Firing Point’ written by George Wallace and Don Keith, ‘Hunter Killer’ is a 2018 action thriller movie helmed by Donovan Marsh that focuses on a submarine captain named Joe Glass who is on a mission to locate a US submarine, the USS Tampa Bay, in distress, somewhere in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Commanding the USS Arkansas, Joe arrives at the naval base only to discover defense minister Dmitri Durov taking Russian President Zakarin prisoner.
Now, Joe must gather an elite group of Navy SEALs to rescue the president and prevent another World War. With most of the action taking place over and underwater, inside different submarines and ships, the viewers are bound to get curious about the actual filming locations and pose the question — Where was ‘Hunter Killer’ filmed?
Hunter Killer Shooting Sites
‘Hunter Killer’ was filmed in England, Bulgaria, and China, especially in London, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Leavesden, Sofia, Varna, and Hong Kong. According to reports, principal photography for the Gerard Butler starrer got underway in July 2016 and went on for several months. So, allow us to take you through all the specific sites that feature in the action movie!
The capital of England and the United Kingdom — London — served as one of the primary production locations for ‘Hunter Killer.’ In particular, the filming unit set up camp in Ealing Studios at Ealing Green in West London where they built interior sets of a Virginia-class submarine with the help of the blueprints provided and approved by the US Navy. The only difference was the expanded spaces, which were necessary to allow easier camera movement during the shooting.
Moreover, the studio was utilized to host a Pentagon set seen in the movie. The oldest studio in the world, Ealing Studios is home to five stages, 20,000 square feet of flexible production and art department space, workshops, prop stores, and various other amenities, making it a suitable filming site for different kinds of productions.
Other Locations in England
The production team also traveled to other locations across England, including Surrey, where they took over the former Legal & General Building in the residential area of Kingswood to make it stand in for a part of The Pentagon. In order to shoot the exterior scenes of the USS Arkansas, the cast and crew members set up camp in Pinewood Studios on Pinewood Road in the village of Iver Heath in Buckinghamshire. They constructed the exterior set of the main submarine in the studio’s 806,000-gallon exterior water tank, which was used to shoot overwater and underwater scenes.
Some underwater sequences were recorded with the help of a separate water tank, in Warner Bros. Studios on Warner Drive in Leavesden, Hertfordshire. The film studio complex consists of 19 different sound stages ranging in size from 10,800 square feet to 48,800 square feet and a backlot area with more than 55 acres of available space, making it one of the most extensive backlots in all of Europe and ideal for even the most demanding of productions.
During a conversation with the Military, Donovan Marsh was asked about the number of submarine scenes they shot on sets and the real thing. He explained, “I had one day in the USS Texas with the real crew They were amazing; I challenge you to pick them out from the actors. I had one afternoon with the Texas at sea for helicopter shots. We nearly crashed the chopper (metal in the transmission!), had to return the next morning to shoot the emergency blow. I had one take and only knew the point they were going to surface within 100 hundred meters. They surfaced in the edge of shot and I quickly reframed!”
For shooting purposes, the production team of ‘Hunter Killer’ also traveled all the way to Bulgaria. The interior scenes of Polyarny Command Center, USS Arkansas sonar room, and Andropov’s submarine were taped on constructed Russian base sets in Nu Boyana Film Studios at 84 Kumata Street, Cinema Center Boyana in the capital of Sofia. Meanwhile, the exteriors of the Chayka Naval Air Base located at 9003 Tihina in the port city of Varna were used to double for the exteriors of the Polyarny Command Center.
Hong Kong, China
Additional portions of ‘Hunter Killer’ were also recorded in the city of Hong Kong, which lies on China’s southern coast and the east side of the mouth of the Pearl River estuary. Besides the Donovan Marsh directorial, its locales have been featured in numerous movies and TV shows over the years, including ‘Home Alone 3,’ ‘Enter the Dragon,’ ‘Tomb Raider,’ and ‘Ghost in the Shell.’
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