A movie featuring British settlers, pirates and Indians was shot in Grand Cayman last week.
Scenes for To Have and To Hold, based on a book that was a bestseller in 1900, were filmed on board the Valhalla pirate ship, on beaches at Spotts and South Sound and at the Turtle Farm.
Unit publicist David Fulton said the first day of shooting took place on the Valhalla on Wednesday, off Spotts, as filming on the ship on Tuesday was cancelled due to rough seas and bad weather.
The bulk of the movie is being shot in Virginia, where the book is mostly set, but scenes involving pirates and a ship wreck are being filmed in Grand Cayman, with one day of shooting at a blue hole in the Bahamas.
“We’re mainly shooting water sequences on a boat and some beach sequences in Cayman,” Mr. Fulton said. “We’ve had people on site for several weeks setting that up.”
Unit Production Manager Jim Cawley, who arrived in Cayman in early November to set the filming in motion, said the Cayman Islands Film Commission and other government departments such as Immigration, Customs and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service had been accommodating and helpful in bringing about 100 crew members, equipment and props on island.
Among the props were a replica 1600s musket and cannons that needed clearance to be brought into Cayman.
“We retrofitted the Valhalla to take out the modern elements. We added cannons and changed the rigging and removed things that were not in keeping with the period. We took out tables and benches and the bar,” Mr. Cawley said.
The book has been filmed twice before – both times as silent movies in 1916 and 1922.
Three of the principal actors – Christopher Judge (Stargate SG-1), Aiden Turner (All My Children) and Kelly Greyson (Alone, Yet Not Alone) – are in Grand Cayman for the shoot. The film also stars Rusty Joiner (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story), Mark Dacascos (Hawaii Five-0) and John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King).
Mr. Fulton said about 40 local people had been hired to work on the film.
“The economic impact figure is considerable, probably close to US$600,000,” Mr. Fulton said.
“What’s great about this story is it covers everything – pirates and Indians and settlers and romance and royalty. It really has everything and I think that shows the grand tradition of the books of that day. It was a huge bestseller in 1900,” he said. “We were able to capture a lot of that in Virginia. We rebuilt Jamestown.”
Principal photography of the film, which is being directed by Ray Bengston, began in October in Virginia. Filming in Cayman wrapped on Sunday and the crew were scheduled to travel off island the following day.
To Have and To Hold is described as a “sweeping tale of intrigue, love and adventure, spanning two continents and unfolding in the 1619 Jamestown, Virginia colony”. The story is based on a bestselling novel of the same name by Mary Johnston. Writer James Richards adapted the book for the screen.
The film is being produced by Barbara Divisek and Allen Taylor, with Mr. Richards serving as executive producer.
“This period of history offers abundant cinematic flavour,” Ms Divisek said. “In addition to the fascinating story of colonising America, this particular era is rich with tales of royalty, pirates and romance.”
The filmmakers have worked with local production house Caymana Productions on the Cayman portion of the movie.
The story centres on Captain Miles Cambridge (Turner) who moves to the new colonies in America after leaving his English family estate, which has been stolen from him.
by the same man who killed his father while he was away at war with Spain. Lady Jocelyn Leigh (Greyson), a ward of the king, who flees England for Virginia to avoid marrying the treacherous Lord Carnal, meets Cambridge and agrees to marry him. The couple survive imprisonment, shipwrecks, pirate and Indian attacks.