Millionaire Tory minister who cracked down on ramblers freely roaming his 14,000-acre Berkshire estate but is allowing big-budget studio Amazon to film new action comedy starring Idris Elba sparks money talks row
- Landowner Lord Benyon allowed Amazon studios to film a movie on his land
- Heads Of State is an action comedy starring Idris Elba and Priyanka Chopra
A millionaire Tory peer has granted exclusive access to Amazon Studios to film a blockbuster movie on his country estate, starring Idris Elba and Priyanka Chopra, it has been revealed.
Lord Richard Benyon is the owner of the 14,000-acre Englefield Estate in Berkshire, which has served as a backdrop for a series of other movies and television shows.
The Amazon Studios movie Heads Of State – an action comedy starring Idris Elba and Priyanka Chopra – has begun filming at Englefield, the Daily Mail can reveal.
But it comes amid arguments of a conflict of interest as Lord Benyon, who is one of Westminster’s richest men, is minister of state at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which makes decisions on countryside access.
The 62-year-old was heavily involved in fellow Conservative life peer Lord Agnew’s review into the right to roam in England’s countryside, which is currently limited to just 8 per cent of land.
The estate’s website boasts of what has been shot there previously, including: ‘Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, ITV’s crime drama series Unforgotten and Endeavour, and The King’s Speech’
Now, it has been revealed Lord Benyon has granted filming permission at Englefield for Amazon Studios movie Heads Of State — an action comedy starring Idris Elba (left) and Priyanka Chopra right)
But last year it was announced that the review was being wound up and no results would be released.
Lord Benyon, who is the great-great-grandson of three-times Tory Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, has no qualms over allowing access if big-budget producers flash their wallets.
One insider says: ‘It is rather amusing that Lord Benyon appears to be so reluctant to allow people onto his land but his concerns seemingly go out of the window if a decent amount of money is wafted in front of his face.
‘It seems the adage of “money talks” applies once again, even for a man worth £130 million, according to The Sunday Times Rich List.’
Meanwhile, the estate’s website boasts of what has been shot there previously, including: ‘Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, ITV’s crime drama series Unforgotten and Endeavour, and The King’s Speech.’
The movie will be directed by Hardcore Henry filmmaker Ilya Naishuller, with filming set to start in May.
It will be produced by Safran Company’s Peter Safran and John Rickard. Elba and Cena are both also executive producers, along with Marcus Viscidi.
Richard Benyon is the owner of the 14,000-acre Englefield Estate in Berkshire, but has steadfastly refused to allow ramblers to freely roam his land
The script was written by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec, from draft by Harrison Query.
Former Miss World actress Chopra made her Bollywood debut in 2003’s The Hero: Love Story of a Spy, with her breakout role coming the following year in romantic thriller Aitraaz, which she followed with her roles in Fashion, Barfi! and Mary Kom.
Her Hollywood film debut came in Baywatch where she starred opposite Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron.
Lord Benyon is the great-great-grandson of three-times Tory Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, who was in office for much of the period between June 1885 and his retirement in 1902.
Amazon Studios were unavailable for comment.
A spokesman for Englefield said: ‘We’re not able to comment on private contractual arrangements with production companies.’