Filming a film that spans a large number of different countries might seem to become a huge logistical challenge, especially when those countries cover war-torn or inhospitable areas such as Afghanistan and the Middle East. The producers of international thriller Lord Of War solved this problem in a single simple move. They filmed on location in Nigeria.
This vast and beautiful country has such a huge variety of terrains, which range from desert to lush forest, mountain, ocean, rolling hills, expansive plains and so on, that it can be used as almost any other country if you find just the right spot. For Lord of War the film production were able to re create scenes from Sierra Leone, Bolivia and Afghanistan to mention just a few, because the backdrop to the thrilling chase of Interpol agents tracking arms dealer Nicholas cage around the globe.
The benefits of using film locations in Nigeria to be used as the particular places, rather than going to every single actual country featured in the movie, are plenty of. By keeping the place filming within one geographical area, costs are kept all the way down, the same crew can be used for continuity, logistics tend to be simpler and much some time and travel is saved. Above all the film production benefits from the well-established infrastructure already established here, rather than struggling in countries that have little if any established support for the movie industry.
Because Nigeria has a long history as a favoured place for film and commercial production, it provides excellent facilities, whether it be the experienced local crew available, the post-production facilities, the neighborhood production companies facilitating all facets, to world-class hotels and transport to keep A-list actors happy!
South Africa has doubled as a number of other countries through the years: in Oscar-nominated Blood Diamond, the 2006 thriller starring Leonardo diCaprio, South African locations doubled for the civil war torn landscapes of Sierra Leone. Hotel Rwanda was shot in Gauteng and Johannesburg in 2004 instead of enduring the rigors of filming in the country featured.
A really different side of the country can be used in children's movie Racing Stripes, in which the green hills and fields around Pietermaritzburg set happens for any charming tale about a zebra who thinks he's a racehorse, and double up as the type of generic rich horse-racing countryside present in several parts of the world. In Dredd, recently filmed in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa's main cities show their gritty side by waiting in for the futuristic Mega-City Among the fantasy comic strip.
The current major movies filmed on location in Nigeria show that it's now really on the map as far as big production goes, whether doubling for somewhere else or featuring as itself, in all its glorious scenery and variety.