Of all the big budget Hollywood movies to be filmed in Budapest over the past few years, the Charlize Theron starring Atomic Blonde was one of the largest and most anticipated. In its filming, much of which occurred in in 2017, it pushed crews and technicians to extremes in its innovations, and once again proved what we already know: Budapest, while remaining very particularly itself, also has the ability to stand in for just about anywhere.
Of course it helps that it is a Cold-War themed action film, and that city is Berlin, as the untrained eye can easily accept the bland color of the buildings and rougher exteriors of winter in Budapest as those of Berlin. But if you have spent anytime in the city, you can see Budapest peeking out from behind the cloak when Theron’s character leaps from a high level of a courtyard terrace. Such courtyards are commonplace in Budapest, due to strict building codes that require a certain amount of space to remain open. Most apartment buildings in the city center have a courtyard; the same cannot be said about Berlin.
Hat’s off to the filmmakers who decided to make a pivotal scene a car chase in a city filled with 80s Socialist-built Trabants, Ladas, and Wartburgs. Over 500 of the cars were needed for the filming. If you click the link here to watch the ‘Making of a Car Chase’ video we tracked down, you can see just how complicated the filming of the Atomic Blonde Trabant (or is it a Lada?) chase scene was. Indeed these few minutes of film took a week to execute. According to KFTV.com, “The sequence was filmed using a specially-designed vehicle camera rig. Stunt drivers drove the vehicles from control pods that could be positioned in different places on the rig depending on where was off-screen for specific camera shots.”
Credit also goes to set designers and builders who constructed a portable Berlin Wall. That’s right. The wall in the film was toted around town and erected where it was needed, then dismantled and moved to the next location. It’s important to note that many exteriors of Atomic Blonde was also filmed in Berlin, so it is not exclusively Budapest undercover. Adaptable, it is, a shape-shifter, it’s not. Still, Atomic Blonde joins the pantheon of spy films shot in Budapest, which we detailed in a post here.
Below, find the trailer for Atomic Blonde and as well as a 'making of' short.
Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.