Prime minister, culture minister looking for Laagna Road filming compromise ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Culture minister Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa).
Culture minister Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) and Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) both expressed on Thursday a hope that a compromise would be met on possible closure of a stretch of a major Tallinn thoroughfare for the making of a major movie.

An announcement last month that Warner Bros. were to film part of a Christopher Nolan-directed film, Tenet, in Tallinn, was followed by controversy on a request to close a part of Laagna Road, which runs from Tallinn city center to Lasnamäe, the most populous district of the city, for up to a month.

Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart (Centre) expressed opposition to full closure of the road for such a length of time, citing traffic upheaval and issues with emergency services access as the main barriers. Kõlvart also said that part-closure might be possible at certain times.

Ratas stated at the regular Thursday morning government press conference that he had met Kõlvart that morning, to discuss the matter.

"I completely understand his concern [regarding potential traffic hindrances]," Ratas said, according to BNS.

He opined, however, that Kõlvart and Christopher Nolan are in principle on the same side, and hoped that the filming could get underway with minimal disruption, and that the resulting product would be a good movie.

Culture minister Tõnis Lukas, added that Tallinn city authorities will have the last word in solving any traffic problems, noting that the under-construction Reidi Road has already led to traffic issues in the Kadriorg district, which lies at the western end of Laagna Road.

He also stressed the positives which could arise from the project.

"I think the disapproval [in the public discussion] has been somewhat excessive," he said, pointing out that film crew wills bring in around €16 million to the country in total, benefiting businesses, hotels, food venues etc. as well as local actors and even private individuals appearing as extras in the scenes.

"If this film is shot here, others will follow. Not just Hollywood," Lukas said, adding that he would ask the city government to consider the matter carefully before making a decision on such a significant event for Estonian film and culture.

No reports in the media have yet appeared on Warner Bros. response to the Tallinn City Government's stance on the issue.

If filming went ahead, thought to be most likely around the so-called "Laagna Channel", a limestone cutting made when the road was first built, it would be the biggest movie set in or near Tallinn since the 1979 sci-fi classic Stalker, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.

Tenet is set to star John David Washington (Malcolm X, BlacKkKlansman), and  Robert Pattinson (the Twilight series of movies), as well as veteran British actors Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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