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Spain: Hollywood's Favorite Hot Spot

Nov 26, 2007
Three sets of eyes take turns shifting back and forth as sweat beads off the brows above them. The three men nervously glance back and forth, waiting for someone to make that fateful first move. Finally guns are drawn. Angel Eyes slumps to the ground. Tuco tries to fire but finds his gun unloaded. The Man With No Name sends Angel Eyes to his grave with another bullet before forcing Tuco into surrender, handing him a shovel and making him dig for lost Confederate gold.

This scene is from the finale of Sergio Leone's masterpiece The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. It is an unmistakable triumph of the Western film genre. You may think that it was filmed in Old Tucson or perhaps just a short drive from Hollywood. But this classic scene was filmed just north of Madrid, Spain. In fact, Leone and Clint Eastwood's entire Dollars trilogy was shot with Spain standing in for the American Southwest.

Hollywood's fascination with Spanish landscapes and architecture has a rich history. From classic shots like those Leone used to the picturesque Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in the opening scenes of the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, the vistas of Spain - whether because of the average American's unfamiliarity with them or because of their sheer beauty - have served as a backdrop for countless films. And now Hollywood's stars are planting roots on Spanish soil.

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones spend their summers with their children on Majorca, the largest island off the coast of Spain, as does Claudia Schiffer. More family orientated celebs such as the Douglas family inhabit the North coast, while the South coast offers a glorious nightlife and many resorts that cater to the young and adventurous. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are reported to be considering a Spanish abode, though whether they are considering recent vacation spot Bilbao or somewhere a little more quiet has yet to be determined. Perhaps they'll choose somewhere near Barcelona or Madrid, where festivities for World Refugee Day are often held.

The Costa del Sol, where the weather is nearly perfect year-round, is famous for its more than forty scenic golf courses. Sean Connery lived in Marbella, where he enjoyed daily golfing when he wasn't working on projects. Joan Collins resided in Marbella prior to her celebrated role in the television drama Dynasty. This historic Andalusian city was also used as a backdrop for the recent political and historical thrillers Syriana and Munich.

Perhaps those working in film, eager to get away from the ebb and flow of Tinseltown, are seeking to find a home away from home where their work receives accolades. The San Sebastian Film Festival attracts luminaries like Jeremy Irons, Jessica Lange, Mel Gibson and Melanie Griffith. Director David Cronenberg attended the event after a friend told him that it is the most beautiful festival in the world.

The art of the country is another attraction for celebrities. From Goya's portraits to Picasso's Blue Period, the art world has flourished in Spain. Recently Cillian Murphy signed on opposite Al Pacino for a film based on Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali to be filmed primarily in Spain.

Spain offers visitors from Hollywood a diverse blend of recreation, beautiful weather and intriguing culture. The country has attracted celebrities to both its northern and southern shores as well as many of its islands, and stars find it is the perfect place for both filmmaking and homemaking as well. From Sienna Miller sunbathing on the shores of Ibiza to Woody Allen filming his future work entitled Vicky Christina Barcelona - which is a love letter of sorts to the fabled city - modern movie stars can't seem to get enough of Spain.
About the Author
Spain and her islands are drawing actors and others in the film industry to her shores to shoot the latest movies - and sometimes to live there too.

Tribune Properties produce guides to Spain, and they include information for Menorca holidays and Majorca flights

A new guide covers Lanzarote and includes the Lanzarote weather and a Lanzarote map
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