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Locals cried fowl over Brad Pitt shoot, but film may have put east Antrim on movie map

By Victoria Leonard

A Co Antrim film location where animals were left "terrified" after a series of staged explosions and gunfire has been transformed into a battlefield of the Somme in a newly released Hollywood movie.

The Lost City Of Z, which stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson and Sienna Miller, was shot near Ballygally by Brad Pitt's production company Plan B.

In September 2015 locals told of their shock after explosions, gunfire and billowing smoke from fires caused chickens to flee their coops and cows to jump hedges.

At the time local man Jason McKillion told how his poultry and pet dog "went daft" and his neighbour was almost trampled by a herd of stampeding cattle amid the chaos.

The Lost City Of Z is based on the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who journeyed into the Amazon three times in search of a lost civilisation, which he named Z.

The footage shot outside Larne is the most dramatic of the movie, showing Fawcett fighting at the Somme during the First World War.

In the film the rolling hills around Sallagh Brae, which also feature in Game Of Thrones, have been transformed into a maze of trenches and bunkers as Fawcett and his men prepare to go over the top into No Man's Land.

As the soldiers charge the screen is filled with deafening explosions and German machine gun fire as the Allies seek to dodge barbed wire.

Fawcett is overcome by chlorine gas, but eventually recovers enough to make his third and final trip to the Amazon.

On that occasion, he and his team vanished without trace and numerous rescue attempts failed to locate the explorers.

Ballygally businessman Grahame Todd, who served many members of the film crew at his Spar shop, said that the east Antrim area was fast becoming a popular location for the filming of movies.

"People around here certainly won't forget the filming of The Lost City Of Z in a hurry," he said.

"But in the end it was worth the hassle. It's great for the area."

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