Movies you didn’t know were filmed in Glasgow
There are some Oscar-nominated films here
When you typically think of the film industry and where films are made, your mind might automatically go to the big guns: New York, London, Beijing, and Los Angeles in particular. It’s not a stupid thing to believe either – many famous faces in the film industry are based in Los Angeles, and the weather is consistently light, meaning production companies can film for longer with consistency. (There is nothing worse for a location shoot than rain during a scene set in August!) And let’s be honest, we’ve all seen and heard of those stories of the hopeful actor moving to the big city for their big break, where they meet an exec whom, with a fat cigar in their mouth and a whisky in hand, says they’re ‘gonna be a big star!’.
However, if you’re hoping to begin a career in the film industry, you may not have to go as far as you might have first thought. Many productions have long since been filmed in Scotland, and Glasgow is becoming all the more popular as a filming location; the high streets of Glasgow have striking similarities to Manhattan and San Francisco, and the surrounding areas have a beautiful and naturally spooky landscapes, and it’s easy for a runner to go on a deep fried mars bar run for the cast.
So here’s a selection of great movies you didn’t know were filmed in and around Glasgow:
Let us start with the best film ever made, Trainspotting. (No other opinion allowed). This Scottish classic is of course based in Edinburgh, with the audience initially being introduced to protagonist “Mark Renton” as he runs down Princes Street with his fellow heroin addicted pal Spud, then getting run over under Calton Street Bridge. However, a huge bulk of the film was made in Glasgow.
Rouken Glen Park played host to Renton and Sickboys tantalising discussion on Sean Connery, before his disastrous, sped-up interview, Spud shared a milkshake with Renton at the Cafe d’Jaconelli, and the football game played by the male cast in the introduction was filmed at the Firhill Sports Complex.
Although set in northern France, scenes of this BAFTA winning and Oscar nominated wartime epic were in fact filmed in the Govan Graving Docks. Directed by Sam Mendes, and written by himself and born and raised Glaswegian Krysty Wilson-Cairns, this epic wartime movie follows the story of Schofield and Blake, two Lance Cpl’s sent across enemy lines to deliver a message that could save the potential massacre of over 1600 men. The beautiful cinematography (no, this wasn’t all shot in one take, but my God could you be fooled), incredible acting, devastating yet epic narrative, and a soundtrack all helps this film become a real edge-of-seater.
Another Oscar nominated hit to be filmed in Glasgow (as well as Lothian, Galloway and Dumfries) is the Glenn Close and Jonathon Pryce lead drama, The Wife. The story follows Joan, who accompanies her husband Joe to collect his Nobel Prize in literature, whilst reflecting on the sacrifices she made for her husbands success. Set in Stockholm (plus a few scenes set in the US), shooting took place predominantly in Glasgow, with Hutcheson’s Hall being the location for shooting a lot of the Nobel Prize award scenes.
Under The Skin
Scarlett Johansson as an alien whom lands in Glasgow disguised as a woman who seduces men into another dimension? Sign me up. This movie is full of recognisable locations around Glasgow, including Argyle Street, Buchanan Galleries, Sauchiehall Street and George Street. And fun fact; the men that are lured into Scarlett Johansson’s van are not actors, but regular members of the public. So next time you’re in Glasgow and Scarlett is about, just walk away.
Fast & Furious 6
Ok, full disclosure – I personally don’t enjoy the Fast & Furious films. Not to the offence of anyone who does enjoy them, or anyone who was involved in the productions, I just find these particular movies far too lacking in substance and over compensating in empty action. (I know I’m not alone in this opinion). However, what I do like is the industry these films can bring to cities such as Glasgow – more movie work means more experience and a richer film economy in Scotland. Wellington Street, Cadogan Street and Broomielaw were all locations seen during car chases in the Vin Diesel movie.
Other honourable mentions include World War Z, Cloud Atlas and Perfect Sense, and there will be a lot more honourable mentions to come in 2022!
Related stories recommended by this writer: https://thetab.com/uk/glasgow/2021/10/07/we-spoke-to-the-glasgow-graduate-working-as-a-designer-at-lego-23932