Could Cuba be Hollywood’s next favourite movie location?

The restoration of U.S.-Cuba relations announced in late 2014 has given Hollywood studios food for thought, with a whole island full of potential new filming locations just waiting to be discovered.

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In fact, Variety reports that Universal is considering filming part of "Fast and Furious 8" in Cuba this spring.

With a U.S. economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba in place since 1962, no American movie has been filmed on the island for 50 years. Now that the two former Cold War enemies' frosty relationship has thawed, Cuba seems to have piqued the interest of Hollywood studios with the beauty and diversity of its landscapes.

Universal has apparently started scouting the island for potential locations for a major scene from the upcoming "Fast and Furious" movie. Always on the lookout for exotic locations -- with Abu Dhabi, Rio and Japan seen in previous instalments of the hit movie series -- the production team has reportedly picked Havana for the future film, alongside Russia and Iceland. Plus, Cuba would have the huge advantage of appealing to the Hispanic audience of the "Fast and Furious" franchise.

A big Hollywood movie filming on the island could open the door to more potential productions. For half a century, producers and directors have had no choice but to respect the embargo, filming movies or scenes supposedly set in Cuba in the Dominican Republic or Uruguay. Showtime has already announced that the final episode in the next season of "House of Lies" will be filmed in Havana, directed by Helen Hunt. This marks a historic first for a TV series.

In 2014, American director Bob Yari managed to shoot his Ernest Hemingway biopic, "Papa", on the island, but only after a difficult process obtaining all the necessary authorizations. Last year, comedian and talk-show host Conan O'Brien took his "Conan" show to Havana for a special episode aired on American TV in March.

Cuba could become a hot new spot for movie-makers, joining ranks with Toronto, Hawaii and Eastern Europe, which have all been boosted by attractive tax incentives for studios


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