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London - You might have thought a tiny beach cafe on a sparsely populated Mediterranean island would be no match for the might of a Hollywood blockbuster.
But, when a rustic restaurant in Gozo posed a problem for the production of a film starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the A-list couple found a diplomatic solution – by renting the place for the summer.
The pair and their production crew wanted unfettered access to the pebble beach at the picturesque bay at Mgarr ix-Xini for three months while they made By The Sea.
The beach is one of the most secluded spots on the island and the cafe holds pride of place at the water’s edge.
Owners Noel and Sandra Vella are reportedly being paid thousands of pounds in compensation to shut up shop.
Sandra Vella said: “I’m not going to make as much had I remained open throughout these months, but at least I’m getting some form of compensation.”
Gozo – which has a population of 31 000 and is a 20-minute ferry ride from the island of Malta – is known for its rugged landscapes, spectacular coastline and superb diving conditions.
Jolie, 39, has written the script for By The Sea, and she will also be directing and starring in the movie. Working alongside her for the first time since 2005’s Mr & Mrs Smith will be her partner Pitt, 50. They will play husband and wife in the film, which is described by Universal Pictures as an “intimate character-driven drama”.
Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat has estimated that the weeks of filming, followed by a boost in visitor numbers, could pump £15-million (R269m) into the local economy. – Mail On Sunday