Steven Spielberg builds £5M World War II US Airforce base in the Berkshire for Masters Of The Air


Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have constructed a sprawling US Airforce base in the British countryside for their upcoming drama Masters Of The Air – at an eye-watering cost of £5 million.

The Hollywood heavyweights are producing the Apple TV series, which started shooting in the UK in February and features Callum Turner, Austin Butler, Anthony Boyle and Jude law’s son, Rafferty, among its cast.

And in preparation for the anticipated show’s production, a World War II-era base has been built in the rolling green hills of Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, on the site of a disused university and hotel.

Big project: (L-R) Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have constructed a sprawling US Airforce base in the British countryside for their upcoming drama Masters Of The Air – at an eye-watering cost of £5 million. Pictured in 2018

Sprawling: In preparation for the anticipated show's production, a World War II-era base has been built in the rolling green hills of Chalfont St Giles, Berkshire, on the site of a disused university and hotel

Sprawling: In preparation for the anticipated show’s production, a World War II-era base has been built in the rolling green hills of Chalfont St Giles, Berkshire, on the site of a disused university and hotel

The large collection of Nissen huts and buildings are life-sized and complemented with numerous US Army vehicles all constructed and imported for filming which will take place into 2022.

Masters Of The Air is based on Donald L. Miller’s book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany. 

It was initially reported that HBO had planned to televise the series, when rumours first swirled almost a decade ago back in 2012.

By 2019, it was revealed that Apple TV had made a deal with Spielberg and Hanks’ production companies for the series.

Cast: Jude Law's son Rafferty is portraying Sgt. Ken Lemmons in the show

Lead: Austin Butler plays key character Major Gale Cleven

Cast: Jude Law’s son Rafferty and Austin Butler are set to portray key characters in the show, Sgt. Ken Lemmons (Law, left) and Major Gale Cleven (Butler, right)

Throwback: The large collection of Nissen huts and buildings are life-sized and complemented with numerous US Army vehicles all constructed and imported for filming which will take place into 2022

Throwback: The large collection of Nissen huts and buildings are life-sized and complemented with numerous US Army vehicles all constructed and imported for filming which will take place into 2022

Starring: The Plot Against America actor Anthony Boyle is set to play Major Crosby in the show

Exciting: Callum Turner, who appeared in BBC's adaptation of War and Peace, stars as Major John Egan

Starring: The Plot Against America actor Anthony Boyle (L) is set to play Major Crosby in the show, and Callum Turner (R), who appeared in BBC’s adaptation of War and Peace, stars as Major John Egan

The team is said to be shooting 10 episodes of the series, with an estimated production cost of over $200 million.

While Deadline Hollywood reports 10 episodes at $200 million, the Hollywood Reporter has claimed it will be nine episodes at $250 million.

Back in October of last year, it was announced that Cary Joji Fukunaga would be directing the first three episodes. 

It is hoped that the series will emulate the success of Band Of Brothers, the American war drama miniseries also produced by Spielberg, 74, and Hanks, 64, back in 2001.

Based on based on historian Stephen E. Ambrose’s 1992 book of the same name, the show dramatised the history of “Easy” Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Division.

Basis: Masters Of The Air is based on Donald L. Miller's book Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany

Basis: Masters Of The Air is based on Donald L. Miller’s book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany

A long time in the making: It was initially reported that HBO had planned to televise the series, when rumours first swirled almost a decade ago back in 2012

A long time in the making: It was initially reported that HBO had planned to televise the series, when rumours first swirled almost a decade ago back in 2012

Series: By 2019, it was revealed that Apple TV had made a deal with Spielberg and Hanks' production companies for the series

Series: By 2019, it was revealed that Apple TV had made a deal with Spielberg and Hanks’ production companies for the series

Band Of Brothers followed the Battalion’s jump training in the US, to its participation in major actions in Europe, up until Japan’s capitulation and the end of World War II.

Also filmed in the UK, the miniseries – which starred Damian Lewis, Dale Dye, Colin Hanks, David Schwimmer, Donnie Wahlberg, and Ron Livingston, among others – was a critical success, scooping numerous awards. 

Pictures of the set come days after Line Of Duty’s Terry Jessop was pictured getting into character for the series elsewhere in the English countryside.

The 36-year-old actor was spotted shooting scenes on the set of the show, which is based on the actions of the Eighth Air Force of the US Army Air Forces in the sleepy Buckinghamshire village of Bledlow.

A far cry from the gritty surroundings on the set of his BBC show, Tommy was seen getting fussed over by hair and makeup and wardrobe teams as he stood amid the rolling green home county hills. 

Big role:  Last week, Line Of Duty star Tommy Jessop was spotted shooting scenes for the Apple TV series in Buckinghamshire

Big role:  Last week, Line Of Duty star Tommy Jessop was spotted shooting scenes for the Apple TV series in Buckinghamshire

Conflicting reports: While Deadline Hollywood reports 10 episodes at $200 million, the Hollywood Reporter has claimed it will be nine episodes at $250 million

Conflicting reports: While Deadline Hollywood reports 10 episodes at $200 million, the Hollywood Reporter has claimed it will be nine episodes at $250 million

Dressed in a loose-fitting white shirt with a patterned white tie, Tommy looked dapper as he waited to step before cameras in his period costume, which also consisted of baggy dark trousers and suspenders.

A huge filming operation could be seen set up around the Lions Of Bledlow pub, as the sizeable cast and crew took over the picturesque village, which sits on the county boundary with Oxfordshire. 

And while Spielberg or Hanks were not present on the day Tommy was spotted filming, esteemed Hollywood producer Gary Goetzman was seen sharing his insight as he sipped on a warm beverage. 

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, who helmed the latest and much-delayed James Bond film No Time To Die, the Apple TV series is reported to have been shooting in the UK for at least two months.

While Tommy’s role in the series has yet to be announced, the actor teased a ‘top secret’ project on Twitter. He revealed that the secret gig in question has required him to learn boxing, sword fighting and fishing.  

At the helm: Back in October of last year, it was announced that Cary Joji Fukunaga would be directing the first three episodes

At the helm: Back in October of last year, it was announced that Cary Joji Fukunaga would be directing the first three episodes

Action: Tommy Jessop has won acclaim for his role  in Line Of Duty (pictured with Kate Fleming played by Vicky McClure)

Action: Tommy Jessop has won acclaim for his role  in Line Of Duty (pictured with Kate Fleming played by Vicky McClure)



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