The Power is Amazon’s new drama starring Toni Collette and John Leguizamo. It’s based on the bestselling feminist novel by Naomi Alderman, in which women develop the power to generate electricity which can kill with only one touch. It’s a superpower that redresses the power balance towards women, who can choose to use this strength for good or ill. The series airs on Amazon Prime from March 31st.
The production of The Power came to Suffolk during the summer of 2021. Screen Suffolk managed the filming in Bawdsey where they built a huge convent that was used as a key part of the story.
Rachel Aldridge from Screen Suffolk explains:
‘We were contacted by Sister Pictures who were looking for a coastal location for an ambitious set build. We manage filming for several landowners in East Suffolk and we took the location manager and art director to one of our favorite spots in Bawdsey. They loved it! I was all hands to pump after that as there were four short weeks until the production moved in.’
Screen Suffolk engaged with East Suffolk Council and Bawdsey Parish Council as the location for the set build was in a field situated down a lane in the village.
Jim Horsfield from Screen Suffolk takes up the story:
‘The set was built off site and then brought in sections that needed to be put together on set. The build itself took two months and we worked really closely with the location manager and parish council to make sure the large trucks that delivered the set didn’t cause too much disruption. All the houses were sent letters keeping them informed and the production had to work around school drop-off times when moving the trucks.’
Once the set was built there were three weeks of intense filming with some night shoots, and the 300 crew members were bussed in from a nearby former RAF base. The large crew required many services such as catering tents, waste disposal, power and storage units while they were on site, and local Suffolk businesses were able to swing into action to help.
Vivo Clean a Suffolk cleaning company worked on the set for several months and George Pennell describes how his company came to work on the show:
‘We managed to secure the work with Sister Pictures with a phone call out of the blue from one of the producers of the show who was looking for a reputable, local cleaning company to join them on both the construction of the set and during filming. This was a surreal experience and provided thousands of hours of paid work for people across Suffolk via Vivo Clean. This was a tight operation during COVID times and our clean team were an integral part of the operation
An interesting fact is that our ‘cleaners corner’ was in the marquee shared with the extras. It became commonplace to see a member of our team sharing their lunch break with a Nun or a police officer!’
As well as cleaning companies, Sister Pictures were also keen to employ local site solutions for the duration. Hero Site Solutions provided toilets and waste disposal and helped clear the site at the end of filming.
Mike Bolton from Hero talks about the work he did on the show.
‘We received a phone call from one of the Sister Pictures site production directors and he asked if we could assist in providing welfare facilities and source reliable waste disposal services for The Power film set at Bawdsey. This included vip toilet trailers, wheelie bins and ad-hoc servicing and waste collection. Servicing was sometimes impulsive and quick but we soon learned how to work alongside the film crew and producers. Its safe to say that Hero Site Solutions truly has The Power to take on further film set needs.’
Screen Suffolk encourages not only the use of local businesses on film sets but also local crew. They have a large cast and crew database of over 600 people who can work on set. The Power was a large production that required many supporting artists and local crew.
Ryan Adams lives in Ipswich and has been a supporting artist on shows ranging from Poldark to Eastenders. Ryan loves being on set, he gets to play different roles, he’s been a Gendarme, German Militia, SAS Soldier and NYPD to name a few.
‘I first heard about The Power in the local press and through some other performers in the industry. I emailed Screen Suffolk asking whether the production was in need of any special action performers. They passed my CV to the production, the next thing I knew I had been booked for a run of nights over at the location base in Bawdsey.’
Once he got the call it was a short wait until he was called to set. His role in The Power is a member of the HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) within the SWAT Team of the Charleston County Police Department which saw him working closely with Military advisors, armorers and the stunt department
The local impact for a production of this scale cannot be underestimated. Economically, over 10,000 hotel nights were booked in Ipswich by the production and local suppliers recouped thousands of pounds in business. Per day for a production of this size, Creative England’s rate card estimates a daily local spend of £35,000 a day.