Plans to build a "live-work" community adjacent to the 70-year-old Pinewood Studios, near London, were announced today (Friday) by studio owner Pinewood Shepperton. The project would expand the existing studio and technical facilities and add permanent outdoor location sets including a Roman amphitheater, a medieval castle, a Venetian canal, a California high school, an Italian lakeside and streets sets representing London, New York, Paris, and Los Angeles. The project, whose entire cost was not disclosed in the announcement (Daily Variety put the cost at $400 million), also calls for a residential development including more than 2,000 homes that will be integrated with the film sets, "green" bus transportation to the studios, and a training and educational complex. A news release describing the project included comments from several British filmmakers, including director Richard Curtis who said, "The practical benefits for film and television makers could be enormous, creating movies in one place -- not several locations -- and being right next to all the best film facilities." A question still remains for U.S. producers whether the benefits of shooting at such a facility can offset rising costs of shooting in the U.K. as the dollar continues its rapid descent against the British pound.