One would-be wizard, an American secret agent, a pair of illicit lovers and two frustrated thirty-somethings have all made films in and around Regent's Park.
The would-be wizard is, of course, Harry Potter. An early scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) is set at London Zoo within The Regent's Park. During a visit to the reptile house, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) first discovers he has unusual powers when he talks to the snakes and unwittingly frees a boa constrictor.
The secret agent is Nathan Muir in Tony Scott's thriller Spy Game (2001). Early in the film, he is called to CIA headquarters at Langley. The Outer Circle of Regent's Park, with its elegant Regency terraces, stood in for the journey Muir makes from his home in Washington DC.
The illicit lovers were filmed over 50 years ago on the Regent's Park boating lake. This was a pivotal scene in David Lean's classic British romance, Brief Encounter (1945). Alec and Laura, played by Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson, are in a rowing boat when Alec stumbles off the end of the boat near the Long Bridge and ends up knee-deep in water.
More recently, in About a Boy (2002), the lake in Queen Mary's Garden became a romantic hunting ground for Will, a rich but shallow thirty-something played by Hugh Grant. Will courts single mothers in the park because he thinks they are easy targets. There's no conquest but he makes friends with twelve-year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) and the two have a heart-to-heart next to the famous penguin pool at the zoo.
Beyond the zoo, on Primrose Hill, love is also in the air for another thirty-something in the opening credits of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004). Bridget (Renee Zellweger), dressed in a Sound of Music costume, runs into the arms of Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). But then she asks "What happens after they live happily ever after?" See Kensington Gardens for more Bridget Jones locations.
*London Zoo is where David (David Naughton) wakes up in An American Werewolf in London (1981), after attacking tramps near Tower Bridge. In Withnail and I (1987), Withnail (Richard E Grant) takes a final stroll with Marwood (Paul McGann) before delivering a soliloquy from Hamlet outside the wolf enclosure. The zoo's Prince Albert Suite was used for the Jewish wedding reception in the comedy, Leon the Pig Farmer (1993).