Brad Pitt stars in the absurdist War Machine, opening on May 26th in UK cinemas and on Netflix. Addington Palace, a Palladian mansion in Croydon, hosted some of the filming over two days in September and October 2015.
The film is described as part reality, part parody, with Pitt depicting a born leader’s march into folly.
The Addington Palace scenes involve Sir Ben Kingsley, playing Afghan President Karzai, with Pitt, who’s in the role of General Glen McMahon, based on real-life general Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal’s career in Afghanistan ended after he featured in Rolling Stone magazine expose The Runaway General.
Addington Palace features in the trailer where Pitt tells Kingsley, as Karzai, that Nato is about to embark on a new direction to build Afghanistan into a free and prosperous nation. Kingsley replies, “Sounds a lot like the old direction.”
FilmFixer manages the film office service for Croydon Council. FilmFixer director Andrew Pavord says, “The filming at Addington Palace was significant, involving a large cast and crew. But our role for Croydon Film Office was quite limited.
“We organised the parking – of about 50 vehicles – for the unit base in Addington Park, while the scenes were being shot.
“Nevertheless, we think Croydon should be quite proud of its role in this film about the politics of war.”
According to the Rolling Stone feature, McChrystal’s real-life staff in 2010, then the most powerful force shaping US policy in Afghanistan, called themselves Team America, in reference to that satirical movie, which, among other things, lampoons the White House.
Nato forces were unpopular, having killed 90 civilians in the first four months of 2010, leading McChrystal to concede, “We’ve shot an amazing number of people.”
His insistence on avoiding such deaths was unpopular with troops whose complaints included, “We aren’t putting fear into the Taliban.”
The Rolling Stone journalist behind the story, Michael Hastings, died a car accident in Los Angeles, aged 33.