The highly anticipated live-action film Peter Pan & Wendy will take characters to Neverland and could bring Disney fans to Newfoundland, according to the head of the film unit that will be shooting on the island.
Local film producer Allison White is the unit's line producer, working to make sure things like accommodations, hiring and COVID-19 exemptions are in place for arriving film crew. She was scouting locations for another movie when she got the call from Disney.
"When Disney were trying to find the right place for the setting, they stumbled across some pictures of Newfoundland and they got in touch with the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation (NLFDC)," White told The St. John's Morning Show Wednesday.
"They gave me a call to see if I'd be interested in trying to help out, and of course I was."
White said Disney Pictures was drawn to Newfoundland because of its landscapes and scenery across the island. While no shooting locations are set in stone, NLFDC executive director and film commissioner Dorian Rowe said Tuesday that areas such as Trinity, the Cape Shore and Bonavista — White's hometown — are being considered.
'They seek out these locations'
Once these locations are shown off on the big screen, White said she believes it could serve as a major boost to the province's tourism following a tough 2020.
"Disney fans are known to do this kind of thing. They love Disney movies, and they seek out these locations," she said. "So I think if only a small percentage seek out Newfoundland, we'll be in good shape.
"I think about all the other shows, like Republic of Doyle, Hudson & Rex, Maudie...that have brought a lot of tourism to Newfoundland. I think a Disney film will only add to that."
The movie is set to begin filming on the island in August.
"You can imagine with the tale of Peter Pan…they just have this specific look in mind of these coastal landscapes, and I think Newfoundland has so much of that to offer," White said.
"We're gonna notice that in the movie, it will be a big part of it."
The partnership between Disney and the province was announced by Premier Andrew Furey Tuesday. The agreement in place to film a portion of the movie in Newfoundland and Labrador is a 30 per cent rebate on eligible production spending, up to $3 million.
White said over 150 people will be on the production, with the hiring process still ongoing. Film experience is an added bonus, but she said the search for specialized work like the trades continues.
"This will be the biggest production I've ever worked on for sure…We'll have a couple hundred people on set, we'll have lots of equipment. The scope to me of the audience that Disney reaches is incredible. To me that's the big difference, how many people will see Newfoundland in this film."