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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December, 2004, 17:10 GMT
Chaplin finds Welsh family roots
Geraldine Chaplin
Geraldine Chaplin has been singing the praises of Swansea
Charlie Chaplin's daughter has spoken of her family roots in Swansea while filming a new version of Heidi in south west Wales.

Geraldine Chaplin has been staying in the city for the shoot that has been based at Llanelli's Stradey Castle.

It is her first visit to Wales but she undertands relatives on her father's side are buried nearby.

Chaplin has been joined by former Avengers star Diana Rigg and veteran Max Von Sydow in the cast.

I've been told near Swansea there is a grave yard with a lot of my family there - the Chaplins
Geraldine Chaplin

The production has spent the last three weeks in Wales and will wrap at the end of the week.

Most of the filming has been at Stradey Castle but use has also been made of the Gwilli Steam Railway and additional scenes have been filmed in woodlands near Neath.

Chaplin, 60, is the daughter of silent screen legend Charlie Chaplin, who at the peak of his fame was one of the most recognised entertainers in the world.

Born in London in 1889, it is believed he played Swansea's old Palace Theatre on High Street when part of a touring troupe in 1897.

Charlie Chaplin
Chaplin is believed to have appeared at Swansea's former Palace Theatre

His daughter said "I've been told near Swansea there is a graveyard with a lot of my family there - the Chaplins.

"I heard it through my 90 year old cousin in Florida who said there were many Chaplins there."

She said due to her tight filming schedule she had not had the chance to investigate further, but added she had been able to have a good look around the city.

"I love it down here. I have walked from the hotel to Mumbles and back - it's beautiful."

The production, which stars Emma Bolger as the title character, began in Slovenia in mid-October.

A cast and crew of around 75 have been staying in hotels in Swansea and Llanelli since moving to Wales three weeks ago.

Emma Bolger
Dublin's Emma Bolger has been cast in the title role of Heidi

The films director, Paul Marcus, said the area had proved a wonderful location.

"It's been a very positive experience. Stradey Castle is a wonderful location and it does have a kind of Germanic quality," he said.

Producer Martyn Auty said they had also done one days filming in woodlands on the outskirts of Neath and another at the Gwilli Railway near Carmarthen.

"One thing we did was we had to build a 19th Century interior with wooden benches in one of the carriages.

"We have donated that to the volunteers who run the railway and they are talking about using it as a Heidi carriage next year.

"Hopefully if the film is as big as it should be they can advertise it as an additional attraction."

The film, likely to have a cinema release in the summer of 2005, will be distributed in America by Warner Brothers.

"Because of that we have already sold it to other countries - France, Italy and we are about to sell it to Japan," added Mr Auty.

"It's going to be pretty much worldwide."


SEE ALSO:
Heidi the film comes to Llanelli
25 Nov 04 |  South West Wales
Chaplin film receives première
15 Aug 03 |  Entertainment
Chaplin's granddaughter acts up
28 Jul 03 |  Entertainment
Chaplin colour footage unearthed
16 May 02 |  Entertainment


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