Just like yesterday’s post about Bridget Jones, let me tell you about another of my favourite films, Sliding Doors, which was released in 1998 and how I went to a really amazing filming location from the film the other day!
First, for those of you who might have not seen this film, I personally think it’s a gem of a rom-com and I won’t give too much away. Its story line focuses on Helen (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) who is fired from her job in PR, drops an earring in the lift as she starts her journey home (which is picked up by ‘James’ played by John Hannah) and goes to catch the London Underground train. However, at that point, the story splits into two parallel worlds: the one where Helen just about squeezes onto the tube train (and consequently gets home to find her boyfriend in bed with another woman and is befriended by James who she bumps into again) and the world where she misses the train, gets mugged and lives with her boyfriend, unaware of his infidelities. There are many moments in the film as the story lines intertwine.
The idea of the film came from director Peter Howitt who was late meeting a friend one day and was walking down Charing Cross Road.
“I impulsively dashed across the street, and was nearly hit by a car, and that brush with death got me thinking. Something inside my head thought, ‘That’s interesting. What if he had hit me then?’ What are the knock-on effects, the domino effects.”
And actually, Peter gave himself a cameo role at the restaurant where Helen is working as he’s the long-haired guy who orders food. And at a pre-filming party, John Hannah’s wife (actress Joanna Roth) got the part of the ‘suspicious lady’.
Much of Sliding Doors is filmed in London, obviously with the London Underground taking a central role and it’s Embankment Station where Helen catches/misses the train. The mugging takes place outside the Landmark Hotel on Marylebone Road, close to Regent’s Park.
The Landmark itself is a stunning 5 star hotel and you can have afternoon tea in its Winter Garden Restaurant which I did many years ago.
Many of London’s bridges feature in the film as well as restaurants such as Bertorelli’s in Fitzrovia where Helen works in the one of the story lines and, in the other, she drinks with James. Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on Fulham Road features in both parallel worlds.
But the location I’m most excited to tell you about is Fat Boy’s Diner which features a couple of times in the film and it’s where my action packed day to London started with breakfast. It’s a typical American diner and located just across the River Thames from the O2 in Trinity Buoy Wharf. Having caught the underground train to North Greenwich station, I walked to North Greenwich Pier and jumped on the ‘Predator’ boat which I had all to myself! The staff were lovely and I devoured a Cumberland sausage baguette knowing that I had a very busy day ahead. And if you’re in the area, do take advantage of the Emirates Air cable car that also goes across the Thames from near the O2 to the Royal Docklands. During rush hour, it’s a 5 minute journey each way but outside of its busiest times, it doubles its journey time so that you can listen to the running commentary and see the Docklands beneath.
And don’t forget one of the most famous quotes from the film:
James: Cheer up. Remember what the Monty Python boys say.
Helen: “Always look on the bright side of life”?
James: No, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.”
Visiting some film locations is one of the many things on my bucket list and tomorrow I’ll tell you about somewhere else I checked into the other day, a STUNNING location from Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Happy Sunday everyone ♥