Movie makers will follow in star’s wake

IF there’s one great thing that’s come out of World War Z’s recent residency in Glasgow’s George Square, it’s that the sight of Brad Pitt, zombie armies, truck crashes and US Swat teams on the streets has flagged up the city – and Scotland in general – as a viable location for blockbuster filmmaking.

Plenty of films have been shot here, but World War Z’s production seems different. The scale of it – and the excitement it has generated – suggests Glasgow might be on its way to becoming a prime location for international and commercial movie-making, as opposed to being used as an off-the-peg signifier for working class angst. There’s clearly the talent and the resources here to attract all types of film production.

And as World War Z has shown, there’s no reason why Scotland – and Glasgow in particular – can’t now follow the lead of other countries and cities. The Matrix, for instance, was shot in Sydney and nobody worried about why the cast all spoke with American accents. Stanley Kubrick dressed certain London streets to look like downtown New York in Eyes Wide Shut and nobody took issue with it. Hollywood may still be at the heart of the industry, but the complex deals required to fund movies these days mean that if it’s cheaper, more convenient or more suitable to film elsewhere then film elsewhere they will.

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Indeed, a lot has been made of the fact that Christopher Nolan’s next Batman sequel, The Dark Knight Rises, has been filmed mostly in Detroit. That’s a city with little connection to the film industry, yet still it attracted the most anticipated blockbuster of 2012 to its streets.