Once noted for shunning filmmaker and making it tough for them to shoot, Greece is now welcoming them and the country will be the setting for more Hollywood productions, including the story of NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
From a Nigerian family, he grew up in the Athens neighborhood of Sepolia where film crews will be shooting Greek Freak, the nickname given him for his freakish talents on the hardwood.
In 2021, more than 15 international productions will be filmed across the country—the highest number Greece has ever seen, said The Daily Beast of Greece being a new lure for directors and actors.
Daniel Craig, Kristen Stewart, John Krasinski, Léa Seydoux, Rian Johnson, Ed Norton, Janelle Monae, Dave Bautista, Katherine Hahn, Viggo Mortensen, and Antonio Banderas will be among the megastars gathered in Greece for a host of film shoots, the site reported.
The much-anticipated Knives Out sequel featuring Craig will be filmed and set in Greece, while the Banderas’ project Barracuda will use the streets of Thessaloniki to stand in for Miami, with 1,000 local extras being drafted in as supposed citizens of South Florida.
That's a big turnaround because for years movies that had been set in Greece were filmed elsewhere, including Mama Mia 2 – the first was shot on the island of Skopelos but the sequel in Croatia.
Now Greece will be the setting and the shooting spot too for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 with the hilarious Greek-American family that fans came to adore with Greek-Canadian actress Nia Vardalos announcing, “We will be going to Greece to film the movie!”
“There are many reasons for Greece’s current ‘success story’ and one of them is definitely how we managed the pandemic in the first place,” Venia Vergou, the Director of the Hellenic Film Commission of the Greek Film Centre told Variety.
“In the spring of 2020, everyone was trying to guarantee the safety of their cast and crew in a foreign country. Under strict protocols, we opened again in May. When we were welcoming productions to film here, other countries were still closed,” she said.
Elena Priovolou, director of the International Productions Services for the Greek production company Argonauts told The Daily Beast that filming was only shut down in Greece for two months last year.
And Argonauts will be co-producing David Cronenberg’s new movie Crimes of the Future, starring Mortensen, Seydoux and Stewart, who will be coming to Athens in early August.