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How Do Producers Make Movies Shot in Other Countries, Like Slumdog Millionaire?

How Do Producers Make Movies Shot in Other Countries, Like Slumdog Millionaire?

Last Updated on August 13, 2022

Producing a good movie is never easy, but it becomes particularly difficult if the shooting needs to be done in some faraway nation. Not only does it raise the cost of production quite significantly, but there are also several other difficulties to consider. Some nations do not allow Hollywood film crews to shoot in their country, while others only allow filming to commence in specific locations within their boundaries. On top of that, getting permission to shoot at a specific location in the concerned nation can also be extremely challenging for producers. So, how did they pull off shooting a film like Slumdog Millionaire? Let’s find some answers next.

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Issues Faced by the Crew of Slumdog Millionaire

Some countries are comparatively more accessible to Hollywood film crews than others, and Slumdog Millionaire was shot in one of them. However, simply getting official permission and actually shooting at a location are two completely different concepts in India. According to the line producer of Slumdog Millionaire, Tabrez Noorani, even though the crew did manage to get all the necessary permits in advance, filming was never easy.

According to the line producer, local authorities, police, goons, and even school principals got in their way more than once! There was a fight and concerns for the safety of their crew while filming in the shady parts of Mumbai. He also explained that shooting did become a lot easier after paying the local political leader(s) a visit in person. In fact, this issue of having to go through the hoops can in fact be minimized by paying local politicians a visit first. Noorani stated that anyone planning to shoot in India should be prepared for the fact that it will take a lot longer than Hollywood filmmakers might be used to.

Hiring Locals Eliminates Most of the Issues

It has become a common practice for international filmmakers nowadays to arrive with a skeleton crew and hire locally to fill up their ranks. The local film crew and connected parties are paid via an international money transfer service like the Ria Money Transfer app, which connects 165+ nations across the globe. This is an effective strategy which completely eliminates multiple issues that the film crew of Slumdog Millionaire faced way back in 2006-2008.

Irrespective of whether we are discussing India or China, liaising with locally established businesses and film crew members simplifies everything. As long as they don’t have to worry about timely payments reaching their bank account, they know how to smooth out the immediate and the potential problems well before they even arise. Not only do they know whom to contact, where to shoot, and how to get the necessary permits, experienced film crews usually have their own influence in lucrative filming spots as well.

Skipping the Location

The Interview is an extremely controversial comedy movie, produced by Columbia Pictures, Point Grey Pictures, and LStar Capital. As one might imagine, Seth Rogen could not have possibly shot the movie in North Korea for very obvious reasons! So, they skipped the location and shot the entire movie in Vancouver, Canada instead. You will never know it while watching the movie though, thanks to the quality of preproduction and postproduction work on the film.

Similarly, John Rambo was shot in Thailand and not Myanmar (Burma), because that would have raised security concerns for the crew. Most recently, The Extraction (2020), which was fictionally located in Dhaka, Bangladesh, was instead filmed in India and Thailand. The production team could not get the permission to film in Dhaka, but that did not matter in the end.

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