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St Paul’s set alight for Hollywood

19 February 2016


Aflame: Westminster Abbey

Aflame: Westminster Abbey

A SYMBOL of stability in the capital for more than 300 years, St Paul’s Cathedral, it appears, can withstand everything but a Hollywood script.

Its dome appears in flames in the poster for London Has Fallen, an American action thriller set for release next month.

In the film, the world’s future rests in the hands of the President of the United States, played by Aaron Eckhart, and his team, including a Secret Service agent played by Gerard Butler (a man made of “bourbon and poor choices”). It is set in London, where a gathering of the world leaders for the funeral of the British Prime Minister becomes the target of a terrorist plot.

Scenes of London under attack include explosions outside St Paul’s (also the scene of a shoot-out on the steps), bridges collapsing, and Westminster Abbey in flames.

Spokeswomen for the two churches remained unruffled about the scenes. “As an iconic building, we are well used to featuring in films of this kind,” a spokeswoman for Westminster Abbey said.

Her counterpart at St Paul’s said that the cathedral “gives careful consideration to a great many filming requests. On this occasion, we did not take the opportunity to be filmed.”

She confirmed that a set version of St Paul’s was built abroad, and computer-generated imagery used to recreate it.

In the trailer, viewers confronted with scenes of London beneath plumes of smoke are reassured by Morgan Freeman that “America will rise up.”

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