Great films don’t just get us out of ourselves - when the location is right they get us out of our comfort zones too writes Jonathan Futrell of How To Spend It. New Zealand was a little England locked in the 1950s until the Lord of the Rings blockbusters put the wonderment of the nation’s natural heartland on to the big screen. And who could resist a trip to Rome after seeing a clip of Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn on a scooter, or pass up the chance to holiday in the Caribbean after watching 007 strut his six-pack stuff on those sun-kissed sands.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Image: Fifty Shades of Grey
Vancouver, on Canada’s stunning west coast, is forever being voted the best city in the world to live. There’s something about the equitable climate and epic scenery, surrounded by water. The city can expect more visitors than ever in 2015 when the New Year kicks off with the big screen version of EL James’ best selling erotic novel, Fifty Shades Of Grey, starring Texan Dakota Johnson - daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith - and Jamie Dornan, star of BBC2’s The Fall alongside Gillian Anderson.
You can stay at the city’s Fairmont Hotel - as featured in the film - with Virgin Holidays, no pun intended, (0844 557 3859/ www.virginholidays.co.uk) from £1025 per person for seven nights, flying from London with Air Canada. The movie opens Valentine’s weekend of course.
The Heart of the Sea
In The Heart Of The Sea tells the 19th Century story of the ill-fated whaling ship, The Essex, and the dreadful fate of its crew shipwrecked by a giant whale, starring Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek and The Avengers) and Cillian Murphy (The Wind That Shakes The Barley and currently with a short back and sides in BBC’s Peaky Blinders). The film, due out in March, won’t make anyone want to go on a sea voyage in the Pacific - but Nantucket, the home port of the Essex, that’s another thing.
That windswept town in the teeth of the Atlantic, east of Boston, is Cornwall writ large: cedar wood-tiled homes, many owned by millionaires and US politicians, vast sandy beaches best discovered by bike, and a seductive New England charm. Stay at my favourite hotel, the Wauwinet, as part of a seven night holiday with Scott Dunn (0203 468 5774 / www.scottdunn.co.uk) from £2630 per person, with flights between London and Boston and on to Nantucket.
If watching Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Keira Knightley in the autumn blockbuster Everest gives you appetite for snow boots, mitts and fleecy parkas you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to climb the world’s highest peak to enjoy that sense of chilly adventure. That’s because director Baltasar Kormakur shot all but the establishing shots of Everest in his native Iceland.
Just outside the Arctic Circle, volcanically active, with larva fields, glacial rivers, and thermal springs, and the birthplace of 80s art-pop-icon Bjork, Iceland epitomises the beauty of extreme cold. Discover the gothic grandeur of this Nordic natural world on a self-drive holiday with Artisan Travel (01670 785085 / www.artisantravel.co.uk) from £2090, two sharing.
James Bond Spectre
Image: Cote D’Azur
From the Caribbean and the Cote d’Azur to Istanbul and Hong Kong - 007 gets all the best locations. As I write leading man Daniel Craig, and Sam Mendes, director of the 24th James Bond movie Spectre, are shooting in the magnificent Austrian Tyrol, the picture book setting of snow capped mountains and vertiginous valleys with church spires and edelweiss. Tyrollean towns don’t come any lovelier than Soll at the hub of a network of ski runs - downhill and cross country - with many great bars for apres ski Shnapps.
Ingham (01483 345724/ www.inghams.co.uk) promise couples sharing a touch of 007 glamour for seven nights at the four star Hotel Tyrol from £1248. In the spring the cast and crew of Spectre move to Rome for classical charm and pasta. Just the time for a short three night break with Kirker Holidays (0207 593 1899 / www.kirkerholidays.com) at the Capo d’Africa hotel, just a stroll from the Colosseum, from £598 per person.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Image: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Jaipur, the capital of India’s state of Rajasthan has to be a contender for the most colourful location in the world. Known as the ‘pink city’ a lambent brilliance radiates from its lake, palaces, forts and formal gardens. Such a kaleidoscopic setting for the surprise hit of 2013, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - a film that had nothing to do with rubber gloves and everything to do with the wit, grace, friendship and happiness of growing old disgracefully.
The second instalment, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, comes out in March 2015. The same stellar cast, starring Dame Judi Dench and Bill Nighy, is joined by Hollywood glam man, Richard Gere. Soak up Jaipur’s amber beauty with a cycling holiday through Rajasthan’s national parks with Discover Adventure (01722 71844 / www.discoveradventure.com) from £1899 per person.