Several movie stars have filmed on Gran Canaria as studios use the island as a set because of its idyllic location.
A white whale was spotted off the coast of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s La Isleta over the Christmas of 1954. It was made of papier mâché by a workshop in the city’s Rosarito street for the shooting of the film version of Moby Dick. But that was not the only 'big fish' spotted in the Gran Canaria capital. When not on the set, the star of the film, actor Gregory Peck, would bar crawl the La Puntilla neighbourhood alongside legendary director John Huston.
The full-of-life Gregory Peck, fascinated by the surroundings and the agreeable climate of Gran Canaria in midwinter, immersed himself in the bustling local scene. The American actor was at the height of fame following the making of Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn which was released shortly before his arrival on the island.
The stars of the silver screen shone bright that year on Gran Canaria. As they did with the arrival of one of the biggest heartthrobs in film history. Marcelo Mastroianni came to the island for the shooting of Tirma, an Italian-Spanish co-production directed by Paolo Moffa and Carlos Serrano de Osma. This big-budget production’s cast also included one of the female stars of the era, Silvana Pampanini.
These two examples show Gran Canaria’s history as a movie set. And it’s still popular in the world of film today. Hollywood returned to our shores earlier this year in the shape of Brad Pitt, one of contemporary cinema’s icons after starring roles in Thelma & Louise (1991), Seven (1995), Fight Club (1999), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). Pitt landed on Gran Canaria in May to shoot Allied. He chose to stay in a house in Vegueta, in the historic heart of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The lavish production also brought director Robert Zemeckis and actress Marion Cotillard to the island. Gran Canaria was honoured to host the Spanish premiere of Allied on November 24th, the day after the film came out in the US.
2016 had already seen Avatar star Sam Worthington grace our shores. He visited Gran Canaria to shoot scenes for forthcoming blockbuster, Titan. This year also brought film crews working on Los últimos de Filipinas (starring Luis Tosar, Karra Elejalde, Carlos Hipólito, and Eduard Fernández), Luis Oliveros’ El jugador de ajedrez and El último traje from Argentinian director Pablo Solarz with actress Ángela Molina.
Vídeo: Allied. Spot Rules 60s. Paramount Pictures Spain
The shower of stars on Gran Canaria is never ending. Travelling slightly back in time, we find Jessica Lange, Shirley MacLaine, and Demi Moore sunbathing on the beaches in the south of the island and savouring the flavour of our culinary tradition during breaks from filming Wild Oats which opened in Spain on November 18th. Gran Canaria is a natural in front of the camera. As you can see if you watch Palmeras en la nieve which starred Mario Casas along with Teror’s very own Finca de Osorio. And the likes of Sophia Loren, Catherine Deneuve, Gerard Depardieu, and Ed Harris have made their way down the red carpet of our very own film festival.
Video: Trailer Wild Oats
Such high-profile visits cement Gran Canaria as a sunny Atlantic offshoot of Hollywood and a modern factory of dreams.