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Teesside To Stateside – Airport Doubles As NYC In New Romantic Comedy

Posted in: News

Published on: 6th February 2024

A romantic comedy which sees Teesside International Airport stand in for New York International Airport will hit screens on Friday (February 9). 

 

Upgraded is the latest movie to be filmed in Tees Valley and comes to Prime Video this week.  

 

Secret shooting took place at the airport in August 2022, and saw Teesside transformed into “New York International Airport”. 

 

Upgraded sees Camila Mendes star as Ana – an ambitious intern dreaming of a career in the art world while trying to impress her demanding boss Claire (Marisa Tomei).  

 

When she’s upgraded to first class on a work trip, she meets handsome Will (Archie Renaux), who mistakes Ana for her boss – a white lie that sets off a glamorous chain of events, romance and opportunity, until her fib threatens to surface. 

 

The Amazon Original movie is directed by Carlson Young. Lead Camila Mendes and Spider-man: Homecoming actress Marisa Tomei were among the cast who filmed at Teesside Airport. 

 

Filming took place in just a day and saw the airport terminal signs and luggage trolleys changed to black and yellow “New York International Airport” while famous yellow New York taxis pulled up outside the entrance. 

 

Check-in desks and digital displays were also converted to the fictional “Sovereign Air” airline which appears in the movie. 

 

The shooting followed weeks of negotiations between the film’s production team and Teesside Airport staff to ensure filming went off without a hitch while the airport continued to fully operate. 

 

Teesside International Airport Managing Director Phil Forster said: “We were delighted to welcome the cast and crew of Upgraded to Teesside Airport and it’s fantastic to see our airport in the finished film. 

 

“We know our airport is a great location for our passengers and the fact that we can stand in as New York in a major Hollywood film shows how far we have come in transforming our terminal building into a modern and vibrant place from which even the stars want to travel.” 

 

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We know we have superb locations for filming across Teesside, Hartlepool and Darlington and it’s great that Teesside Airport is now also firmly on that list. 

 

“Our airport was once a crumbling, failing business but in just the past year we have enjoyed the best passenger numbers in more than a decade, been named UK and Ireland Airport of the Year and are now starring in major movies.” 

 

Upgraded is the latest feature film shot in the Tees Valley and comes as major drive to grow the thriving local film and TV industry continues. 

 

Filming was supported by the North East England screen agency North East Screen. 

 

North East Screen Operations Director Gayle Woodruffe said: The North East is home to a diverse array of world-class locations, all of which have their own unique versatility which can be easily adapted to the needs of the production filming.  

 

 “Seeing Teesside Airport transform into New York International Airport shows this at its best, and it is a real asset in our North East locations portfolio.” 

 

North East film and TV production increased 28% in 2023, and Upgraded is the fourth time in 2024 that Tees Valley locations have appeared on screen, following feature film JACKDAW and ITV dramas, After the Flood and Vera, with further in the pipeline for the rest of the year. 

 

Upgraded is available to watch on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide from Friday, 9 February. The trailer is available here  

 

For filming opportunities at Teesside International Airport contact enquiries@teessideinternational.com 

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