Hollywood stars back British EU membership

Hollywood stars back British EU membership

Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley and others call on Britain to remain part of 28-country bloc

LONDON (AA) - A host of British film and theater stars have joined Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign to keep the U.K. within the EU.

Hollywood actors including Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Keira Knightley are among figures from the entertainment industry who have signed a public letter calling on Britain to remain a European Union member state.

In the letter published Friday and organized by the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, the stars said next month’s referendum “forces us to look in the mirror and ask ourselves: what kind of nation do we want to be?”

It continues: “From the smallest gallery to the biggest blockbuster, many of us have worked on projects that would never have happened without vital EU funding or by collaborating across borders.

“Britain is not just stronger in Europe, it is more imaginative and more creative, and our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away.”

Harry Potter actor Helena Bonham-Carter; director Danny Boyle, whose work includes the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire; and author John le Carre are among the 282 signatories.

The letter was released as Creative Industries Federation, a body that represents public arts and culture in the U.K., announced 96 percent of its members supported a vote to remain.

Speaking during a visit Monday to London’s Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded nearly all their albums, Cameron said: “When it comes to creativity, British talent and expertise has made this country the envy of the world.

“Whether it is music or film, art or video games, the U.K. leads Europe. More than most, this is a sector that thrives on being open to the world outside.

“Whether it's bringing in talent, filming on location or simply having access to the single market of 500 million people across Europe.

“The results of Creative Industries Federation's survey are clear: we are better off in a reformed European Union than out on our own. To leave would be a leap in the dark.”

Britain’s EU membership referendum takes place June 23.

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