THE outcry from traders over the unexpected closure of Lewes streets for the shooting of a film was subdued a little when it emerged that the star was an A-List Hollywood celebrity.
Prolific film actor Kevin Bacon prowled various corners of the town in what will emerge as an up-market advertisement.
Bacon, 54, has been named as one of the best actors never to have received an Academy Award nomination.
It is hoped that the film crew’s use of the county town as a base –and a place to spend money – will offset complaints from businesses over the closure of parking bays. And it may raise Lewes’s profile as a prime venue for future productions.
The controversy resulted in the compromise of a revised filming time from 3pm to 5pm on Saturday to minimise disruption to local shops and other outlets.
Golden-Globe winning actor Bacon, who has starred in such big name films as Animal House, The Woodsman, Mystic River, JFK, Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon, was appearing in an advertisement for Everyone/Everywhere – an Orange/T-Mobile promotion for phones.
His Lewes screen debut – and what is understood to be his first in the UK – included a stroll up Paddock Road and a call at an extremely dubious venue. The exterior of the Barbican House Museum was transformed into a pub for the day.
While the filming took only 90 minutes instead of the expected five hours, some High Street traders were still smarting at what they perceived as a loss of business.
They considered that ‘parking suspension’ notices may have deterred visitors. Ali Kahir, proprietor of the Shanaz Restaurant, said that he had endured his worst Saturday trading in three years, while other town centre outlets said business was subdued.
Meanwhile Mr Bacon, who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying his visit to Lewes, was also seen doing his stuff in South Street and Southover High Street.
His visit has prompted the suggestion that the introducion of a dedicated ‘film officer’ at County Hall would eliminate controversy and successfully exploit the boundless movie backdrops East Sussex has to offer.