Being a spy is being like a shadow. Quick, untraceable, unnoticeable. A true professional, who has charm, who is purposeful, and elegant. Not in the movie Spy (2015) which is an American action-comedy spy film written and directed by Paul Feig. Starring Melissa McCarthy as Susan Cooper, the main character is the absolute opposite of what has been said above. The journey of Susan is truly a tale, and the best about it is that the majority of it happens in Hungary. Almost the whole movie has been shot in the capital city, Budapest.
Susan Cooper is a 40-year-old, single, desk-bound CIA employee who remotely assists her partner, field agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law), on a mission. Fine accidentally kills arms dealer Tihomir Boyanov (Raad Rawi) so failing to learn the location of a suitcase nuke from him. Susan uncovers evidence that Rayna (Rose Byrne), Boyanov’s daughter, has contacted terrorist middle man Sergio De Luca (Richard Brake), so Fine infiltrates her home. Rayna shoots Fine dead, while Susan watches helplessly online. Rayna then reveals that she knows the identities of the agency’s top agents, including Rick Ford (Jason Statham) and Karen Walker (Morena Baccarin). Susan, once a top trainee agent but now unknown, volunteers to track her.
Principal photography and production of the movie started on March 31, 2014, in Budapest. Apart from tax breaks, shooting was primarily done there, since the architecture and buildings allow it to appear as other places where the story took place, including Paris and Rome. Let’s not forget that in most scenes Budapest acts as itself.
The locations of the movie are The Limestone Maze under a Brewery in Kőbánya, a Power Plant, which is 30 minutes far from Budapest’s center, A patinated residential house, (former palace of Adria Shipping Company) which can be located against the United States Embassy of Budapest, the Ethnographic Museum, Gundel Restaurant, Origo Studios, and in the Film Factory of Fót. Some other areas include the Bank of Danube from the Pest-side, At Bálna, which is located between the Szabadság (Freedom) and Petőfi Bridges. Gresham Palace gave them permission to shoot inside, which was the first time in its history, that a movie was shot there. We cannot forget the gorgeous scenes at Lake Balaton, where Balatonfüred was the main shooting location. This is where Jason Statham „thinks” that the Balaton is a sea, and can go anywhere.
Films shot in Hungary always have that charm, where the Hungarian viewer is inevitably curious about it, as it is interesting how the country appears in foreign production. Besides, the film itself is particularly exciting and refreshing. It is a flood of great jokes and funny sitcoms.