Wicked Little Letters: Surprise location contender revealed as reason given for why Littlehampton story was filmed elsewhere in Sussex

The director of Wicked Little Letters ‘fell in love’ with the charming Sussex locations that take centre stage in the new film out in cinemas this week.

That’s according to Sussex Film Office, whose team stepped onto the red carpet at the much-anticipated premiere last week.

A spokesperson for the film office said: “It was a brilliant night!

"Joining the cast and crew to celebrate the release of this wonderful riotous comedy, the atmosphere was full of pride for those involved at any stage of the production from development to distribution.

"The film itself is a real treasure, Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley are outstanding in their performances, putting the entire cinema in tears of laughter. It was great to see Sussex star on the big screen, and we can’t wait for you all to see it!”

Directed by Thea Sharrock, Wicked Little Letters – which is released on Friday (February 23) – stars Olivia Colman, Timothy Spall and Jessie Buckley.

Filmed in Arundel and Worthing, Littlehampton is at the centre of the real-life story. You can discover the true story of Edith Swan and Rose Gooding, and what happened when their friendship turned sour, at Littlehampton Museum.

The Sussex Film Office added: “Sussex had a starring role in the making of the comedy.

"Sussex Film Office worked with Producers Blueprint Pictures, filming in Arundel and Worthing. Locals will recognise Worthing Lido and beach, as well as Arundel High Street, Bond Street, and Tarrant Street, which take starring roles in the film."

Initially, the production team were looking to shoot ‘in the true location of the story’ – Littlehampton.

"However, unfortunately, it is a far cry away from how it looked 100 years ago,” the film office said.

“That being said, Sussex Film Office pride themselves on being able to provide filming ‘doubles’ for all number of locations, and this was no exception.

"Although the team were also looking into Norfolk as a filming location, they presented Arundel and Worthing, and the director fell in love.”

The film is set in a 1920s English seaside town which bears witness to a ‘farcical and occasionally sinister scandal’.

Based on a ‘stranger than fiction’ true story, Wicked Little Letters follows two neighbours: deeply conservative local Edith Swan (Olivia Colman) and rowdy Irish migrant Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley).

When Edith and fellow residents begin to receive ‘wicked letters’ full of unintentionally hilarious profanities, foul-mouthed Rose is charged with the crime. The anonymous letters prompt a national uproar, and a trial ensues.

However, as the town’s women - led by police officer Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan) – begin to investigate the crime themselves, they suspect that something is amiss, and Rose may not be the culprit after all.

The film office spokesperson added: “We are very much looking forward to seeing Sussex on the big screen in this exciting upcoming comedy.

"If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, what are you waiting for? In the meantime, check out the trailer.”

Wicked Little Letters will be released by StudioCanal in UK cinemas on February 23, 2024.

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