Name: Carl Weathers
Born: 14th January 1948 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Credits include: Predator, Rocky, Happy Gilmore
Reason for visiting Glasgow:
Carl Weathers spent time in Glasgow during 2007 filming BBC Three pilot Phoo Action alongside Jaime Winstone and Eddie Shin. The comedy drama was filmed at various locations around the city and at BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay headquarters. No further episodes of Phoo Action were commissioned after the pilot.
Back in early summer 2011, a few months before Brad, Halle and Scarlett came to town, Glasgow was hosting action packed filming for yet another production – Tezz. The city’s main role in the film is to act as double for London in some pretty impressive police chase scenes, although Glasgow is frequently mentioned as the plot concerns a bomb aboard a London to Glasgow train.
Tezz is an Indian produced movie and this recent viewing has in fact been Glasgow on Film’s first Bollywood experience. It was watched with a completely open mind – knowing that, despite comparisons to Hollywood’s Speed, this would be a very different experience to the western (as in hemisphere) movies I am used to. So the couple of impromptu musical sequences that pop up in the film were unusual for an action thriller, but not unsurprising or unappreciated, although some explanation as to why characters’ speech would switch from Hindi to English – sometimes mid-sentence – would be appreciated.
As mentioned above, the film is about the race against time to thwart the bombing of a Virgin train travelling from London to Glasgow (surprisingly Sir Richard Branson doesn’t make one of his movie cameos). One of the group responsible for the plot is fleeing from the police through London on motorbike, although this scene is made up mainly of footage shot in Birmingham and Glasgow – as a result there are some fantastic stunts in The Barras and a dramatic conclusion to the chase on West Campbell Street. For Glasgow to witness such movie action on its streets is a privilege, as is to welcome some of the biggest names in Bollywood, such as Ajay Devgn (as the bomber, Aakaash) and Anil Kapoor (who plays the police force’s top counter-terrorism officer, Arjun) – an actor who has found success in both Bollywood and Hollywood through the likes of Slumdog Millionaire and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
But the positives for Glasgow, the stunts and the respect for another culture cannot conceal a glaring fault with Tezz – its plot. There is a flashback scene in which GoF actually thought Aakaash’s beloved wife had died after being pushed by a British police officer, and that this was therefore a motive for vengeance – but in fact she wasn’t dead and for the record he wasn’t under that impression. His motive for risking the lives of 500 people is quite simply revenge for… him being deported. Even more farcical is that his plight is romanticised – unlike with Dennis Hopper’s character in Speed, it feels here like the viewer is for some reason supposed to feel sorry for the guy that got chucked out of the country for being there illegally and then decided to hold the government to ransom, causing death and destruction along the way. So the deportation meant that Aakaash was separated from the love of his life – perhaps the reason she didn’t follow him (and thus negate the need for him to go to such extreme measures for a reunion) indicates that she was bored of his melodramatics.
Name: Charlton Heston
Born: 4th October 1923 in Evanston, Illinois, USA (died in Beverly Hills on 5th April 2008)
Credits include: Ben-Hur, Planet Of The Apes, Touch Of Evil
Reason for visiting Glasgow:
The internet contains accounts of at least three visits to Glasgow by the late Hollywood heavyweight. Putting these visits into chronological order, he is reported as visiting in 1952 to promote the film The Greatest Show On Earth – this nugget of information is in a 1979 Herald article surrounding a further visit from the man at that time. The 1979 visit was to promote a book of his working diary and in a detailed interview he tells the newspaper’s William Hunter about his love of Scotland. In 1990 Heston came to Glasgow once again – this time to promote Treasure Island – and unveiled a plaque and cut the ribbon at the newly renovated foyer of the Cannon cinema on Sauchiehall Street (now the ABC – named after the cinema’s original name – music venue).
Billy Boyd’s first onscreen appearance was in a 1996 episode of television’s Taggart – since then his acting journey has been one of the more remarkable ones to come out of Glasgow. He has continued to appear on the small screen, from a cameo in an early Still Game episode to an appearance in Casualty as recently as 2012, but it is within his film credits that you will find the most interesting range of roles.
Boyd is a familiar face in homegrown movies, including On A Clear Day, The Flying Scotsman and Stone Of Destiny, as well as the previously featured Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy. In Hollywood he has appeared in the sublime (Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World, alongside Russell Crowe) and the ridiculous (Seed Of Chucky, voicing the son of the murderous Child’s Play doll).
It is for his role as Peregrin ‘Pippin’ Took in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy however that he is best known – Pippin, one of the ‘Hobbits’, was a key character in the blockbuster saga whose instalments were released in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Boyd developed a firm bond with his fellow Hobbits played by Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan and Sean Astin during production of the movies, so much so that the former two attended his wedding at Oran Mor on Byres Road in 2010. Onscreen of course these genuine Hollywood friendships created great chemistry.
Billy Boyd was born in Glasgow on 28th August 1968 – the popular actor often appears younger than his years, perhaps partly due to his association with the role of Pippin, but maybe also due to his other job as frontman of the band Beecake. Boyd’s acting career was shaped in Glasgow, where he graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He lives in the city with his wife and son.
Name: Jean Reno
Born: 30th July 1948 in Casablanca, Morocco
Credits include: Leon, Ronin, Godzilla
Reason for visiting Glasgow:
Jean Reno visited Glasgow in 2004 as part of the UK’s multi-city French Film Festival (although born in Morocco to Spanish parents, he is a French national). During his time in the city Reno introduced his film Tais-Toi! at the Glasgow Film Theatre and attended a civic dinner in the City Chambers aimed at fostering links between Glasgow and France. Notable about the visit was the revelation of an apparent friendship between the actor and the city’s then Lord Provost – Liz Cameron – following their introduction at an event in Brittany a year and a half earlier. A BBC News article from the time quotes Reno as saying “I am especially pleased, in the year of the Entente Cordiale celebrations, to visit Glasgow, a city that has intrigued me ever since I met its Lord Provost Liz Cameron, who is such a great ambassadress“.
Born in Glasgow on 9th July 1965 and raised in the city’s Pollok area, David O’Hara is well known for his distinctive voice and the wide range of interesting characters that he has applied it to.
After leaving school O’Hara first joined a youth opportunities programme at Glasgow Arts Centre, which saw him tour schools in theatre productions, before moving temporarily to London to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama. During his time at the Central School of Speech and Drama, he returned to Glasgow to take on his first screen role – in Bill Forsyth’s 1984 film Comfort And Joy.
The career that has followed has spanned television on both sides of the Atlantic, including The Tudors, Prime Suspect V and Taggart, and likewise UK and American cinema. O’Hara’s movie credits include Cowboys & Aliens, Wanted and The Departed. He is no stranger to villainous roles, such as those of Albert Runcorn in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and the shadowy government figure Michael Canaris in Glasgow-set Doomsday, however in perhaps his best known role he is one of the good guys – the insane Irish character Stephen in Braveheart.
Name: Dwight Yoakam
Born: 23rd October 1956 in Pikeville, Kentucky, USA
Credits include: Four Christmases, Crank, Hollywood Homicide
Reason for visiting Glasgow:
Dwight Yoakam isn’t the first (see Eminem) and won’t be the last of “Glasgow’s Global Visitors” featured on this blog whose visit to the city has been through their main profession in music. Yoakam is known principally as a singer-songwriter – specialising in country music – but is also an actor with a number of movie credits to his name, as well as having directed the 2000 movie South Of Heaven, West Of Hell. He has performed his music in Glasgow on more than one occasion, including appearances at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in 1994 and the ABC on Sauchiehall Street in 2006.