Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Dan Aykroyd

Name: Dan Aykroyd

Born: 1st July 1952 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Credits include: Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers, Spies Like Us

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Filming of 2000’s The House Of Mirth, which will have its own “Stunt Double” appearance on Glasgow on Film in the future. As a huge fan of his films, a young Glasgow on Film waited outside Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to try and meet Dan Aykroyd during a day’s shooting at the gallery. Alas, Aykroyd was not there however the visit was not a complete waste of time as there was instead a very brief meeting with the film’s lead Gillian Anderson and – in the simple days before camera phones – her autograph. A story that appeared in newspapers at the time told how a group of people including Aykroyd had tried to gain entry to the city’s Temple nightclub (which went on to become the Shack nightclub and is now wasteground following a fire), but were “knocked back” by the bouncer who didn’t recognise the actor and felt that they were too drunk!

Movie Glaswegians: Gavin Mitchell

Born in Glasgow on 13th January 1966, Gavin Mitchell has appeared alongside the previously featured Ford Kiernan in a number of television productions – most notably Still Game, in which he plays long suffering barman Boabby, as well as others including The Field Of Blood and Happy Hollidays. In addition his many other television credits include Rab C. Nesbitt, Taggart, Revolver, Monarch Of The Glen and Takin’ Over The Asylum.

Alongside the feast of Scottish television roles, Mitchell’s acting career is laced with film appearances spanning the past few decades too – from the Robin Williams-starring Being Human in 1994 to 2003’s Man Dancin’ and right up to 2011’s You Instead, a comedy drama set at the T in the Park festival.

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Jonah Hill

Name: Jonah Hill

Born: 20th December 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA

Credits include: 21 Jump Street, Superbad, Moneyball

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Hill and co-stars Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse visited Glasgow in 2007 as part of a UK and Ireland tour to promote the movie Superbad. BBC Movies challenged the three actors to produce a video diary of their time in Glasgow, London, Manchester and Dublin and the amusing result can be found on YouTube. During the Glasgow segment Hill says “We saw Glasgow University, that was really cool”. He also describes how everyone that they have encountered in the city has been “really nice” and “really kind” although speaks less favourably of a staff member at an unnamed hotel who apparently scolded him for eating a Subway sandwich in its reception. And on spotting a bed of flowers from their car the 21 Jump Street star states (most likely as a piece of offbeat humour) that his uncle described Glasgow as “the beautiful flower of Europe”.

Movie Glaswegians: Armando Iannucci

At this time there is currently only one big screen feature credited to Armando Iannucci, but it is definitely a good one – 2009’s In The Loop. More on this below.

Born in Glasgow on 28th November 1963 to a Glaswegian mother and Neopolitan father, Iannucci is undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in British comedy. On television he has written, produced, directed or all of the above on shows including The Day Today, Knowing Me, Knowing You With Alan Partridge, Time Trumpet, The Armando Iannucci Shows, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle and The Friday Night Armistice – appearing in front of the camera on the latter four of these too.

It was one of his most successful television creations – political satire The Thick Of It – that led to In The Loop, which he directed and contributed to the screenplay for. In The Loop does not quite keep to the canon of The Thick Of It, with some regular The Thick Of It actors appearing as different characters, however one character that is the same on both small and big screen is the tyrannical, foul mouthed government spin doctor Malcolm Tucker. Tucker, incidentally, is played by another Glasgow Italian – Peter Capaldi, whose performance here has made the character a legendary one. In The Loop – filmed in both the UK and the USA – was highly acclaimed when released and features a fantastic cast that includes The Thick Of It regulars such as Chris Addison and Joanna Scanlan, Hollywood names like James Gandolfini and Mimi Kennedy and other fine British acting talent in the form of Gina McKee and Steve Coogan to name a couple. It is worth noting that In The Loop had its European gala premiere at the Glasgow Film Theatre on 12th February 2009 as the opening of that year’s Glasgow Film Festival.

In 2011 Armando Iannucci was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Glasgow, where he had in the past been educated (in addition to further time spent at University College, Oxford).

There is hopefully a lot more cinema to come from Iannucci – at this time he is working on Alan Partridge: The Movie and as creator of the recent HBO television series Veep, which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President of the United States, his work is certainly being noticed around the world.

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Jackie Mason

Name: Jackie Mason

Born: 9th June 1936 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA

Credits include: Caddyshack II, The Jerk, Jackie Goldberg Private Dick

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Mason brought his stand up comedy show to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in 2006. During his time in Glasgow he was spotted at Paperino’s Italian restaurant on Byres Road.

Movie Glaswegians: Ford Kiernan

Ford Kiernan, born on 10th January 1962 and originally from the Dennistoun area of Glasgow, is a well known face on Scottish and increasingly UK-wide television. His roles on the small screen range from his much loved portrayal of pensioner Jack Jarvis in the Glasgow-set sitcom Still Game to playing former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in The Comic Strip Presents… The Hunt For Tony Blair.

However he is no stranger to the big screen, having appeared in films including Carla’s Song and The Debt Collector (both set in Glasgow), as well as Martin Scorsese’s Gangs Of New York.

Kiernan is married with two children. According to his Wikipedia entry, his first comedy performances took place during the early 1990s in the basement of the Merchant City’s Blackfriar’s pub.

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Keanu Reeves

Name: Keanu Reeves

Born: 2nd September 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon

Credits include: The Matrix, Speed, Devil’s Advocate

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Alongside his acting career, between 1991 and 2002 Keanu Reeves performed bass guitar and backing vocals in an alternative rock group called Dogstar. In 1996 Dogstar performed at the T in the Park music festival during its third and final year (before moving to its current home in Balad0) at Strathclyde Park on the outskirts of Glasgow. Various newspaper and magazine reports from the time record the story that Reeves opted to travel alongside festival goers in a shuttle bus from Glasgow to Strathclyde Park. He and his bandmates are also reported to have eaten in the city’s Cafe India restaurant.