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Monday, 2 November, 1998, 15:54 GMT
Edinburgh studio 'could be open by 2001'
Sean Connery
Sean Connery - an influence on studio plans
A film studio backed by Sean Connery could be operating in the actor's home city of Edinburgh by 2001, according to film agency Scottish Screen.

A consortium including Sony and Scottish businesses are looking for a local site and may conclude a deal by Christmas, according to John Archer, chief executive of the publicly-funded body.

He added that Connery's backing had played a major part in the choice of Edinburgh, and that Sony executives were attracted by Edinburgh's reputation as a cultural centre with a major international arts festival.

Sean Connery
Edinburgh-made hits might Avenge Connery's last flop
The film studio would bring hundreds of jobs to the city, ranging from security and catering to film technicians and actors.

He said if a planning application was made in the next six months, building work could begin next year and film-making by 2001.

Around 20 films could be made in the first five years of the project.

Edinburgh is attractive because it could offer quiet facilities relatively near to a city centre, Archer said, compared with London.

He added: "Certainly for Sean Connery there is a big element of patriotism. He sees this as putting something back, and ever since the devolution vote he has been keen to back Scottish film-making."

The former James Bond star is expected to put some of his own money into the project, he said.

Mr Archer said negotiations were not complete, and dismissed suggestions that Connery could be carrying out some sort of revenge by keeping the Government at a distance from the project, after the Scottish National Party-supporting star was passed over for a knighthood last year.

Connery already has a US-based film production company named after the area of Edinburgh where he once worked as a milkman, Fountainbridge Films.

See also:

16 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Bond tops famous film quotes
28 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Sean Connery named Britain's sexiest actor
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