Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Baron Cohen film 'upsets' Grimsby

Sacha Baron Cohen's new film has upset some of the residents of Grimsby

Sacha Baron Cohen's latest film Grimsby has offended some of the residents of the northern town - for portraying it as a "terrible" place.

The Ali G star's spoof spy film - with a stellar cast including Penelope Cruz, Rebel Wilson, Mark Strong and Ian McShane - is about a football hooligan who teams up with his secret agent brother.

Though titled and set in the north east seaside town of Grimsby, it is actually being filmed in the Essex port of Tilbury, which has been transformed, with shop fronts transformed into copies of Grimsby businesses including bridal shop Maids and Brides, Grimsby Glass Merchants and Humberside Mini-Van Hire.

Pictures from location shooting in Tilbury show the film portraying Grimsby as a run-down area with streets and gardens strewn with litter, cars on bricks and extras wandering around with dogs on chains and cans of lager.

One Grimsby businessman who visited the set told local paper The Grimsby Telegraph: "It was not what I expected. They made Grimsby out to be a terrible and dirty place to live, it's not on."

He added: "I've lived here all my life, it's an up-and-coming area and I'm not pleased this is the way the world will get their first and maybe only look at Grimsby.

"This area has a hell of lot going for it and it's disappointing to see what they have done.

"They should tell people that it's a spoof and this is not the real Grimsby."

And Tilbury residents aren't happy either. One told local paper the Thurrock Gazette they had been away on holiday and returned to find their home town unrecognisable.

Another told the Grimsby Telegraph: "Everyone is kicking up a storm because now Tilbury looks like Grimsby and people are not happy about it.

"There's graffiti everywhere and they are putting rubbish bins in the streets. They used a lot of the local residents of Tilbury as extras and a lot of the shop signs have been altered.

"If they are making Tilbury look like this, then how bad is Grimsby?

"Why are they not filming it in Grimsby? That way they would be putting money into the area."

A spokesman for Thurrock Council, said: "Filming in the borough helps to highlight Thurrock and we do encourage it to show the area as a centre of culture and creativity."

Meanwhile, North East Lincolnshire councillor Matthew Brown told The Guardian he was disappointed to see Grimsby portrayed as a rundown town with hooligan problems.

"It is using the town's name in potentially a poor light. "What also worries me is that there is no benefit to the local economy which is carrying the town's name."

Borat star Sacha reportedly visited Grimsby Town Football Club as research for the film, where he was welcomed warmly by fans.

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