A NEW blockbuster British film about rock 'n' roll on the high seas will be filmed in Portland Harbour and is expected to boost the local economy by more than £1 million.

The Boat That Rocked is the latest comedy feature film by awarding-winning director Richard Curtis, who is best known for Love Actually and Four Weddings And A Funeral.

The star-studded cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, and Kenneth Branagh, who all play pirate radio DJs.

The film is inspired by the British pirate radio revolution in the 1960s which blasted rock and pop from ships 24 hours a day.

The production company Working Title Films is currently preparing for filming that will start at the end of April and last for five to six weeks.

The majority of the filming will take place on a boat in Portland harbour, which will be made to look as if it is at sea and a staged interior of the boat will be built inside a warehouse at Osprey Quay.

Street shots set in the 1960s will be filmed in Castletown. The 250-strong production team including actors will all be staying in local hotels and private accommodation and all equipment will be sourced locally where possible.

Southwest Screen and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council worked together to attract the big production film to the area.

Jacqui Gisborne, communications manager for the borough council, said the news was fantastic and added that this is the biggest film to have been filmed in the area.

She said: "We have been liaising with this particular film company since last year providing support in facilitating and fulfilling their requirements to make this film.

"Although not a film with an excessively large budget the physical income this will provide to our local economy will be in excess of a million pounds."

Adam Richards, location manger for The Boat That Rocked, said: "First and foremost I would like to thank Weymouth and Portland Borough Councifor making us so welcome in this region. "It is mainly due to them that we decided to film a major part of this new high profile British feature film at Portland harbour. "The location requirements we needed to make this film viable and successful were very specific. "After a nationwide search and with the support given to us by the council it was decided that the area in and around Portland would work for us." Head of inward investment and locations for Southwest Screen David Shephard said that the association with such a major film maker will be of great financial benefit to the area. He added: "The Boat That Rocked will be screened in cinemas and television on an international basis bringing further benefits such as film tourism. We have evidence that shows a 30 per cent increase in the number of people who visit an area that has featured in any major film or programme."