Lights, camera, shutters! South Shields firm features in second blockbuster movie

The bright lights of the movies are beckoning for a specialist South Tyneside marine firm - yet again

Friday, 6th January 2017, 11:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:01 pm
Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips

Solar Solve Marine, based at the Simonside Industrial Park, South Shields, will see its award-winning products shown on the big screen in a new movie.

Three years ago company chairman John Lightfoot was delighted when the hit film Captain Phillips - starring Tom Hanks - was shot aboard a ship which featured his firm’s Solasafe roller sunscreens.

Solar Solve Marine chairman John Lightfoot

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The rollers, which are the only transparent anti-glare window sunscreens in the world and protect ship’s crews from a range of sun-related problems - were installed on the navigation bridge windows of the container ship Maersk Alabama.

In the film, the crew were taken hostage by Somali pirates and it is based on true events which happened in 2009.

Now the firm’s products are set to appear in The Long Walk, starring Michael Keaton – best known for his role as Batman in Tim Burton’s adaptations of Batman and Batman Returns.

Mr Lightfoot, who established his family-run business - which exports to more than 80 countries - in 1975, said: “It’s not every day you receive a call for an order which ends up featuring in the same movies as Hollywood legends.

“It’s even more exciting that this will be the second time our products are to appear on the big screen.”

In October the company dispatched an order for roller sunscreens to CBS UK Productions.

The 15 screens are being used on the navigation bridge windows of USS Eisenhower - which will appear in the The Long Walk.

The film, which is based on a novel set in Turkey, tells the story of a young man recruited by a CIA black ops unit who is trained by a hardened Cold War veteran, played by Keaton.

Solar Solve Marine chairman John Lightfoot

For those who aren’t too familiar with roller sunscreens, there’s an easy way to spot the South Shields company’s products on screen.

Mr Lightfoot said: “We are the only company to use coloured stickers on the bottom left-hand side of the screen to denote the colour - in each case it is gold-coloured film.”

Now Mr Lightfoot and his team are eagerly awaiting the release of the latest movie, which is thought to be due out later this year.

He added: “We were all very excited to watch Captain Phillips, and we definitely spotted our roller sunscreens in a few of the shots.

“We will certainly be going to see The Long Walk and who knows what we will be starring in next.”