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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 March 2006, 21:39 GMT
Role for promenade in war movie
Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley is set to star in the wartime film
A Teesside promenade could be transformed into wartime Dunkirk for a Hollywood blockbuster starring Oscar-nominated Keira Knightley.

Producers are in talks with council bosses over the use of Redcar's vintage promenade for the 36m film version of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement.

Director Joe Wright plans to re-create the Dunkirk landings later this year.

Redcar and Cleveland Council said it expects a 400-strong "invasion" of cast and crew if an agreement is reached.

Atonement is an emotional tale which spans the 1930s and 40s and recalls the horrors of World War II, which is also set to feature Jude Law.

'Tourist attraction'

The story focuses in part on a 13-year-old girl and her Cambridge-graduate older sister Cecilia - to be played by Knightley, who won acclaim for her role in Pride and Prejudice.

Negotiations over the production demands, which would involve the closure of Redcar's Esplanade from the Regent Cinema to the boating lake and the creation of a wartime scene, including burnt-out armoured vehicles, have opened and more talks are planned later this month.

Redcar and Cleveland Council's cabinet member for economic development, Vera Moody said: "We are still in negotiations, but it would represent a huge boost to the local economy and a tourist attraction."

Location manager Adam Richards, of Working Title Films, said: "We had a very successful meeting last month and one at the end of this month. We're still in the discussion stage, but so far talks have been positive and we're quietly confident."

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