Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest Celebrates Opening of Locally-Filmed Movie Spy

Published on : Friday, May 22, 2015 (8)The grand master of comedies, Paul Feig (director of Bridesmaids and Heat, now introduces his next action-comedy, Spy. Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is an unassuming, deskbound CIA analyst, and the unsung hero behind the Agency’s most dangerous missions. But when her partner (Jude Law) falls off the grid and another top agent (Jason Statham) is compromised, she volunteers to go deep undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent a global disaster – of course the story is spiced with the well-known Paul Feig humour.

“The story of the movie is that it was originally written to take place all over Europe, including Venice, Capri and Paris. But the minute I got [to Budapest] I thought it was such a beautiful and exotic city, why would I try to make it look like anything other than Budapest?” explains director Paul Feig in an exclusive interview with Four Seasons Magazine.

A big part of the movie was shot in Budapest, as well as at Lake Balaton, one hour away from the capital. Thanks to its outstanding location and diverse architecture, Budapest was just the right choice for production designer Jefferson Sage. The hills on the left side of the Danube River with its tiny cobbled stone roads were partially representing Paris. However, the designer loved those scenes the most, where Budapest could play itself.

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest and Spy

One of the most important sites of the filming was Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest. Gloriously positioned on the East bank of the Danube River at the foot of the Chain Bridge, the Hotel opened in 2004 as the rebirth of the city’s century-old Gresham Palace, acclaimed as one of the world’s finest Art Nouveau buildings with its soaring winter gardens, grand staircases, stained glass, mosaics and ironwork. After a five-year restoration, the Hotel is a dedicated historical landmark that combines the luxurious comforts of the 21st century with the elegance of the past.

Paul Feig spent roughly six months in Budapest. During his stay he fell in love with the Hungarian capital, and with his temporary residence at Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. “My wife and I are avid readers of travel magazines and in every magazine they are constantly doing the 100 best hotels in the world lists and consistently the Gresham Palace is always in the top five of so many lists, so it was always on our radar for that.”

Spy is the first production to receive permission to film a major motion picture in the Palace, so Feig and his crew took this particular opportunity.

One of the most spectacular scenes of the movie takes place in the grand lobby of Four Seasons, when they character Rayna makes her entrance, followed by Susan, a bodyguard and Yves Giacometti, General Manager of the Hotel. Another memorable scene connected to the Hotel, when Susan falls with her scooter, followed by a chase across the streets of Budapest.

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