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Hollywood on Elm Hill

PUBLISHED: 10:47 03 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 22 October 2010

The Briton Arms on Elm Hill, complete with a new thatched extension and change of name to the Slaughtered Prince – part of the transformation for the filming of Stardust.

The Briton Arms on Elm Hill, complete with a new thatched extension and change of name to the Slaughtered Prince – part of the transformation for the filming of Stardust.

LORNA MARSH

It's Elm Hill, but not as we know it. The historic Norwich street is getting a special makeover in readiness for its starring role in what is tipped to be the biggest film to come out of Hollywood next year.

It's Elm Hill, but not as we know it.

The historic Norwich street is getting a special makeover in readiness for its starring role in what is tipped to be the biggest film to come out of Hollywood next year.

Gone is the quaintly titled Britons Arms coffee shop and in its place is the fearsome Slaughtered Prince inn, complete with gory mural and a new thatched front façade - which in the film will lead into Strangers Hall museum, in the guise of a pub.

Buildings have been aged even beyond their real centuries and preparations are in place for a bustling market square and a flint archway in the middle of a wall at the bottom of the hill.

It is all in the name of creating a fantastical set complete with background fairytale castle turrets for Stardust, a film currently in production and starring Hollywood heavyweights Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert de Niro as well as Claire Danes, Sienna Miller and relative newcomer Charlie Cox in the lead role.

Directed by model Claudia Schiffer's husband Matthew Vaughn - whose previous credits include Brit flick Layer Cake - the film is based on the prize-winning Neil Gaiman grown up fairy tale of the same name.

Elm Hill will play the part of a town in the kingdom of Stormhold where Tristan Thorn, played by Cox, is trying to catch an elusive star to prove his worth to his beloved.

While rumours are flying that Pfeiffer is set to be there for filming once the set is completed next week, producers say that only Cox is needed, with the rest of the film being shot in Iceland among other locations.

And after a spell in the cutting room, Norwich is set to only star in the completed film for a matter of minutes.

But it was hand picked after crews trawled the length and breadth of Europe for a suitable location, rejecting places in Romania, France and Germany.

Christina Morris, owner of Elm Hill Craft Shop, said she had been away for a week until yesterday and could not believe the transformation when she came back.

"We have had a lot of filming here over the years but mainly news and things like Lovejoy. This has obviously got a huge budget, the care they are taking is amazing, I think it all looks really great."

Robert Stone, owner of the Bear Shop, said: "It's marvellous as people will become more aware of the area - it is excellent advertising."

And sisters Sue Skipper and Gilly Mixer who own the Britons Arms said that while they loved the new look of the coffee shop it was unlikely council and English Heritage officials would allow them to keep it.

They added: "The crew have been excellent. Considering the number they have been really easy to work around."

Elm Hill will be closed on Monday for filming, but shops are open as normal over the weekend and from Tuesday.


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