Hollywood scriptwriter David S Goyer says Swansea is the real deal
HOLLYWOOD scriptwriter David S Goyer says Swansea will become a key filming destination.
The US screenwriter and director, whose writing credits include the Dark Knight Rises and Blade, believes the 265,000 square feet of stage at Bay studios in Fabian Way is a huge draw.
Mr Goyer, who first visited Wales on a bike trip when he was 16, is shooting the historical fantasy Da Vinci's Demons at locations in Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, including Margam Castle, along with the studios.
It is the first joint production from the premiere cable channel Starz Entertainment and BBC Worldwide Productions and tells a story based on Leonardo da Vinci's life.
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Mr Goyer said he was enjoying the experience of filming in Wales — despite the bad weather.
He said: "Wales is becoming more of a filming destination.
"It has happened in Cardiff with Doctor Who and I could see that happen and there being another centre in Swansea.
"The facility in Fabian Way (in the former Visteon plant) is more than 250,000 feet."
He said the production companies behind the project were impressed with what they had seen so far.
"I would like to (film another series) — they (the producers) are very pleased with the first three episodes," he added.
"I am having the time of my life. "Wales has been fantastic, but very wet — it's been a challenging shoot. We had the worst weather in history in the episodes I was working on."
He added: "But I love it, it's beautiful here."
Mr Goyer said he would not have been able to film the series in the US as it isn't home to castles as Wales is.
The production has already given the local economy a £20 million cash injection and out of that figure a total of £12 million covers the cost of the wage bill.
A total of £750,000 has been spent on materials on set and the show has created 3,300 temporary jobs along with 163 permanent jobs.
Da Vinci's Demons stars English actor Tom Riley, who has previously appeared in Monroe and Bouquet of Barbed Wire, as the young Da Vinci and Laura Haddock, from Upstairs Downstairs, will play Lucrezia Donati, the mistress of Lorenzo Medici and lover of Leonardo da Vinci.
Mr Goyer, who is no stranger to working on films about comic book heroes, says the Da Vinci story would have a modern twist.
"We are treating Da Vinci as if he was the first superhero," he said. "It's one part Da Vinci and one part Sherlock Holmes — there's a lot more action than people expect.
"The Da Vinci story we have is based on historical fact and has a compressed timeline."
He revealed viewers can expect the show to be filled with mystery and sexual intrigue.