Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and also is home to a booming film trade. When watching TV, it’s likely you’ll spot a familiar sight like the University of Cape Town or the unfinished Foreshore Freeway bridge in the background.

Many international films have been shot in the Mother City as it is picturesque, but also chameleonic, adapting to whatever city the film needs. The city is also an affordable international location for many films and series to be shot. Some of these include:

Safe House

“Safe House” is a 2012 action thriller that was directed by Daniel Espinosa, and stars Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington.

The film follows Matt Weston (played by Reynolds), who is a CIA agent tasked with maintaining a  safe house located in Cape Town. Here, the CIA interrogates a veteran operative named Tobin Frost, who is suspected of betraying the agency. The safe house is attacked by mercenaries, and Weston and Frost must flee through the Mother City to ensure their survival with many harrowing moments along the way.

In the film you can spot the Cape Town city skyline, and one scene even features the pair fleeing through the Darling Street Eastern Food Bazar.

Dredd

This 2012 dystopian science fiction film was one of the first projects undertaken by the Cape Town Film Studios.

Karl Urban stars as Judge Dredd, a law enforcer given the power of judge, jury and executioner in a vast, dystopic metropolis called Mega-City One that lies in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Dredd and his apprentice partner, Judge Anderson (played by Olivia Thirlby), are forced to bring order to a 200-storey high-rise block of flats and deal with its resident drug lord, Ma-Ma, who is played by Game of Thrones star Lena Headey.

The film’s stunning cityscapes were actual models created inside the Cape Town Film Studios sound stages.

Tiger House

This 2015 action thriller was based in Wynberg, with the leafy neighbourhood doubling as parts of Surrey, England.

The film follows an injured teen gymnast named Kelly, played by Kaya Scodelario, who makes her way to her boyfriend’s home to inform him that she is pregnant. While there, robbers take his parents hostage, as well as her boyfriend. Unbeknownst to the robbers, Kelly is in the home and hatches a plan to ensure everyone is safe and free.

Chronicle

This 2012 sci-fi film follows three high school friends as they stumble upon a mysterious sight. Over the course of the film, they develop strange abilities that they suspect have alien origins.

Directed by Josh Trank, it stars Dane DeHaan, Michael B Jordan and Alex Russel, and some scenes are shot in the famous Artscape Theatre.

The Last House on The Left

While some horror buffs believe this remake of the Wes Craven classic should never have been filmed, those from the Western Cape were excited when it emerged that filming for this slasher took place in the Helderberg Nature Reserve in 2009.

The film follows a couple who show kindness to a group of strangers by giving them shelter from a storm. They are unaware that the same men assaulted their daughter, but when they learn about their true identities, the devastated parents plan deadly and gruesome revenge.

SERIES:

Raised by Wolves

The sci-fi series centres around two androids who are tasked with raising human children in Kepler-22b after the Earth is destroyed during a great war.

Kepler-22b’s real-life location is Cape Town, and is also the home of a colony of humans dealing with their own internal group conflict who come into contact with the androids. The Ridley Scott-directed series launched in 2020, and has been well-received by audiences around the world.

Black Mirror

Many episodes of the popular speculative fiction’s fifth season were filmed in Cape Town. Popstar Miley Cyrus was spotted in several locations in the Mother City while filming, causing a media frenzy.

Areas such as Llandudno, Constantia and Brackenfell can be identified with the trained eye, and South Africans were excited to see the beautiful Mother City steal the show.

The Widow

“The Widow” is a project from screenwriting brothers Harry and Jack Williams – responsible for hits like “Liar1′ and “The Missing”. It stars Kate Beckinsale, who plays Georgia Wells, a character who attempts to uncover the truth behind her husband’s disappearance after he is reported dead following a plane crash in the Congo.

A media frenzy was also caused when the the British actress was spotted at various locations across the Western Cape, including Cheetah Outreach near Somerset West.

Picture: Unsplash

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.