Shot on location in London and at Twickenham Studios, the filming of
SPICE WORLD was anchored by cast and crew's goal to create a film that reflects
the irrepressible vitality and spontaneity of the Girls themselves. Such
spontaneity was an essential part of the actors' process. Alan Cumming points
out that, in many ways, "you get to make it up as you go along."
With Kim Fuller on the set to pen new lines and offer ideas, it was obvious
that "they want you to improvise.. and every scene stretches."
During the filming of SPICE WORLD, the atmosphere was notably different
from that on the usual film set. Despite the grueling schedule, the 14-hour
days, the rapid pace of each shot and the crack-of-dawn calls, many of the
cast and crew remarked that it was an unusually enjoyable shoot. Kim Fuller
attributes this perpetual pleasure to the Girls' positive approach: "The
people who've been involved so far, the actors who've come and done a day
and so on, have loved it. [The Girls'] energy permeates the whole process
of the film." For Bob Spiers, their "natural talent and professionalism"
was "everything I could ask for." With only 43 days to complete
the entire shoot, he was delighted that "we kept absolutely to schedule."
Barnaby Thompson states simply: "They are the only people in showbiz
for whom a film is a relaxing event."
With the Spice Girls comes a large contingent of followers, not all of them
welcome. Alan Cumming remarks that since "they are the most famous
people on the planet at the moment," each and every day is a "huge
event." There were always "lots of security men, thousands of
screaming children and paparazzi people poking out of corners." In
this atmosphere of hysteria, it was difficult preserving the secrecy surrounding
the film's plot. Observes Barnaby Thompson: "We didn't want people
to feel they had seen the film before they go." With press and photographers
nipping at the heels of the production, leaks were impossible to prevent.
The antics bordered on the absurd: long lenses were spotted everywhere;
people hung out of windows, dressed as builders, followed members of the
crew and hid in bushes and trees.
The media are good-naturedly skewered in the film. "Representatives
of the press in our film are very tongue-in-cheek," Geri explains.
"The reality is that the press have now very much become part of our
lives, so we had to include them in the film somehow." Accordingly,
a number of journalists and photographers were invited to participate in
From the outset, London was to be the main location for the film; it is
the perfect film set, and its landmarks and idiosyncrasies embody the very
British feel that is central to the story. It was a difficult task to take
a film of this nature out on location in the capital for six of the eight-week
shoot, but the producers knew there was no other way to maintain authenticity
and capture that '90s London feel. "We're proud to be British, so we
put it everywhere in the film," said Mel C.
The crew and cast visited around 40 locations. These included the stately
home, Loseley House; the historic Tower Bridge which crosses over London's
Thames river; the beautiful late-Victorian Royal Albert Hall, which still
hosts many concerts and musical events; the newly created East London Docklands;
the old Smithfields meat market; the vast landscape of Battersea Park and
the ornate Hop Exchange. Additional landmarks, such as Buckingham Palace,
Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and Big Ben, were used by the second
Director Bob Spiers insisted on giving the cast "the latitude to be
inventive... Then these scenes pull themselves in. It may look like chaos
to begin with, but it all comes together." The Girls loved this approach:
their favorite scenes were the ones in which they could "banter with
each other," when they felt "like kids in a candy shop, when our
imaginations could run wild." In this way, both writer and director
harnessed the cast's boundless creative energy and great enthusiasm.