Dunkirk star Jack Lowden says lack of major Scottish film studio is 'beyond embarrassing'

One of Scotland's leading film actors, Jack Lowden, has claimed it has become "beyond embarrassing" that the nation still does not have a major film studio.
Jack Lowden with Saoirse Ronan at the Scottish Premiere of Mary Queen of Scots.Jack Lowden with Saoirse Ronan at the Scottish Premiere of Mary Queen of Scots.
Jack Lowden with Saoirse Ronan at the Scottish Premiere of Mary Queen of Scots.

Mary Queen of Scots star Lowden, who is a juror at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, told an audience at the capital's Filmhouse cinema that Scotland had the best backdrop in the world and "so much to offer".

But the actor, who also starred in Oscar winning war movie Dunkirk and wresting comedy Fighting With My Family, said Scotland was "missing out" because of the lack of a studio.

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Speaking at the "In-Person" event, he said Scotland had lost out to Northern Ireland for TV smash Game of Thrones, as well as the "trickle down" of industry opportunities that might have come with it.

He said: "It's beyond embarrassing now. Game of Thrones wanted to shoot here. It was their first choice and they couldn't for a multitude of reasons, we didn't have the studios and stuff like that. And it's totally transformed parts of Belfast and Northern Ireland.

"We missed out on that and we're still missing out on stuff. I don't know what the effing problem is but they just need to get it done.

"It's unbelievable the benefits that a film studio would give to our country.

"It's remarkable the trickle down of labour and of skills and of opportunities. Forget just money, it's opportunities -- the DOPs (directors of photography) and gaffers and sound technicians that have come out of Northern Ireland now, it's remarkable.

"I just shot a film in the Republic (of Ireland) and most of them had worked on Game of Thrones and most of them had never worked before Game of Thrones, and now they are sort of leaders in their field, and we don't do that. We haven't done it yet.

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"It's something that absolutely must happen and it must happen soon."

The Olivier Award-winning actor from Oxton in the Borders, said that some Scottish actors were now returning to Scotland, and the nation could be "on the brink of something special" however.

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He added: "It's the best backdrop in the world, it's got people with incredible work ethic and imagination and creativity.

"We've got so much to offer and I don't care how it happens, it just needs to happen so it will. We'll make it happen, I don't know how but we will."

Lowden said he has recently moved to Leith, and had set up a small production company, Reiver Pictures. The company finished shooting its first movie, a psychological thriller titled "Corvidae", earlier this month. But while the film is set in Scotland, Lowden said it too had to be filmed in Ireland.

Lowden, who produced and also acted in the film, added: "I wanted to shoot my first film here, that didn't happen so we shot it in Ireland.

"It was the best experience of my life. We shot it for five weeks in Ireland and every evening I watched rushes, tape after tape of rushes, and I loved it. I'm going to do more (producing)."