Amazing plans to transform Redcar seafront into 1940s Dunkirk next month have been agreed by Redcar and Cleveland Council after a formal contract was officially signed following detailed talks with a major film company.
Working Title Films believe the town provides the perfect backdrop for the highly anticipated film version of Ian McEwan's bestselling novel, Atonement, which will feature Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in the lead roles.
The stretch of promenade, from the town's Regent Cinema to the boating lake, will become a film set as preparations take shape this month through to late August when filming will commence.
The Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: "This is really going to be a special summer for Redcar and the Borough. We're talking about a multi-million pound production and some of that investment will come to Redcar and Cleveland.
"The profile we'll get during filming will be fantastic - it's got to be good for the tourism trade, hotels, bars, restaurants, taxis and painters and decorators, for example, and the potential of the profile from a blockbuster movie is probably immeasurable."
It promises to be an extraordinary few weeks for the town as plans include the building a bombed out house, a building being transformed into a seaside hotel, tons of rubble and sand being brought in to cover the roads and pavements, the digging of bomb craters and assorted vehicles and boats on the beach.
The site for filming will be a 'no go' area for the public. An e-mail address - firstname.lastname@example.org - is being set up to help recruit 1,000 extras.
The Council's highways partner, Alfred McAlpine is also playing their part in ensuring the town is taken back 60 years, removing railings, flag poles and street and parking signs, then putting it all back into place after the movie makers leave at the end of August.
The location manager for Atonement, Adam Richards said: "We want to say a huge thankyou for making us so welcome and for being able to facilitate this large scale filming project.
"When myself and the production designer first came across Redcar at the end of last year, we both knew this was the location we had been looking for - there really was no point looking anywhere else."
Tom Harvey, Chief Executive of Northern Film & Media, the regional screen agency for the North East, said: "Productions taking place in the region last year spent £8.5m on local crew, facilities and services. A film like this one will have huge benefits in terms of both investment into the region and future tourism.
"It is particularly important that this production has been brought to the North East thanks to regional agencies and people co-operating and pooling their collective resources and energies. It shows what can be done by working together.
"This level of interaction is something we are increasingly focussing on in the future as we aim to ensure a sustainable moving image industry across the North East".