New World War Z Trailer

Trailers are a big deal these days – it’s not just the case that the trailer is the alert for the new film, we now get alerts about the trailers before they are unveiled – today’s release of the first White House Down trailer, which has been preceded by days of online chatter from Sony Pictures, is a prime example of this. We also get multiple teasers and trailers, rather than the traditional solo trailer that you would see at the cinema in days gone by – see Star Trek Into Darkness for a lesson in building hype by adding on bits one trailer at a time.

Paramount Pictures have employed the above tactics with the forthcoming World War Z – probably the most frequently mentioned movie on this blog. They made a big deal ahead of Monday, when they made public the film’s third trailer if you count the previously featured Super Bowl spot.

This looks to be the main trailer, going all orchestral and with a host of impressive set pieces featured. Compared to the previous trailers this has less Glasgow and more World, but there’s something extremely exciting about the 56 second mark when – with the ominous sound of an air raid siren – we see shots of the Kremlin, Glasgow City Chambers and the Sacre Coeur in quick succession.

Even without the Glasgow connections I’d be looking forward to this…

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Gillian Anderson

gillian andersonName: Gillian Anderson

Born: 9th August 1968 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Credits include: The X Files, The Last King Of Scotland, Johnny English Reborn

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Gillian Anderson has visited Glasgow twice on filming duties – in 1999 to shoot much of the period drama The House Of Mirth at locations including Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Theatre Royal and City Chambers, and in 2005 to film a scene at the Royal Infirmary which was unfortunately cut from the final edit of The Last King Of Scotland.

During her time in Glasgow for The House Of Mirth, Anderson “cut the ribbon” at a charity shop on Cathcart Road in the Mount Florida area of the city. The store was opened by the Neurofibromatosis Association, which raises funds for sufferers of the genetic disease known also as NF. Her brother, who passed away in 2011, suffered from NF.

At the time of the 1999 visit Gillian Anderson was quoted in the Sunday Mail as saying “Glasgow is a fantastic place. Unfortunately I’ve seen so little of the city because of the hours I’ve been working”.

As I’ve mentioned previously on here, I managed to meet Anderson briefly and get her autograph as she wrapped a scene at Kelvingrove.

Cameo Appearance: The Great Escape

the great escapeGlasgow isn’t mentioned by name in 1963 World War II classic The Great Escape, however two of its most famous thoroughfares are.

Among the prisoners at the German camp in the movie are two Scots – Macdonald ‘Intelligence’ and Ives ‘The Mole’, played by two real-life Glaswegians Gordon Jackson and Angus Lennie respectively. The two actually share little screen time together, however there is one scene – as Steve McQueen and James Garner distribute moonshine to celebrate American Independence Day – in which the two Scotsmen merrily celebrate their roots.

Macdonald tells a troubled looking Ives “Och, never mind – you’ll be walking down Argyle Street in a couple of weeks man” (sadly this prediction is shattered just minutes later), and then the two dance a jig singing “Wha’ saw the tattie howkers” – including the lyrics “Marching through the Broomielaw”.

Incidentally the film features a third Glaswegian (although not playing a Scottish part) in David McCallum. And two other towns – Musselburgh and Hamilton – get a name check when Ives is recounting his horse racing days to McQueen’s Hilts during the pair’s time in “the cooler”.

Stunt Double: The Last King Of Scotland

last king of scotlandSCOTLAND 1970 and then a brief scene of half-naked students jumping into Loch Lomond at Tarbet is how The Last King Of Scotland opens. It then immediately switches to the rather more staid surroundings of a family dining room where one of the previously frolicking students – newly graduated Dr. Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) – is celebrating over stew and sherry with his parents, played by Barbara Rafferty and David Ashton. This brief scene – filmed in a Victorian house in Maryhill – is Glasgow’s one appearance in the movie. It is not stated whether or not the house is meant to be in Glasgow, hence the “Stunt Double” category here rather than “Starring Role”. It was widely reported during the film’s production in 2005 that both McAvoy and co-star Gillian Anderson filmed a scene at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, however this scene was cut – something confirmed by director Kevin Macdonald in an interview with The Skinny.

Glasgow-born Macdonald’s 2006 feature was a huge critical success – particularly for lead actor Forest Whitaker, who took the Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Actor in the awards season that followed its release. The movie also won the Best British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay BAFTAs.

Whitaker plays Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King Of Scotland, based on the novel of the same name by Giles Foden. The story sees Garrigan – horrified at the prospect of spending his life as partner at his father’s Scottish surgery – travelling to Uganda where he ends up becoming the dictator’s personal physician. Garrigan is something of a cocky character and revels in the mostly enforced celebrations that follow wherever Amin goes, but eventually the leader’s dark side becomes all too apparent to him and events take a dramatic turn. The Maryhill living room scene acts as a sharp contrast in two ways – the boring versus the music and vibrancy of Ugandan villages, but also the safety and security versus the climactic airport scene that makes the admittedly excellent Argos airport tension look like a delayed flight argument on an episode of Airline. Whitaker is terrifying as Scotland-loving Amin and deserving of his awards, while Macdonald strikes gold with his first feature film as director.


Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Channing Tatum

channing tatumName: Channing Tatum

Born: 26th April 1980 in Cullman, Alabama, USA

Credits include: 21 Jump Street, The Vow, Magic Mike

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Channing Tatum spent time in Glasgow in 2009 during the making of The Eagle, which had Film City Glasgow in Govan as its production base. During his time in the city, Tatum and actress wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum attended club night Club Noir’s Halloween party in the O2 Academy on Eglinton Street – both getting into the spirit of the night’s burlesque theme, and with the G.I. Joe star sporting Clockwork Orange style eye makeup. The actor was also photographed arriving at the hotel One Devonshire Gardens on Great Western Road.

Cameo Appearance: The Sum Of All Fears

the sum of all fearsthe sum of all fears 2This 2002 feature is the movie adaptation of Tom Clancy’s novel of the same name, featuring his best known character – Jack Ryan. The Sum Of All Fears is concerned with CIA agent Ryan’s race against time to stop the United States and Russia going to war with each other as a result of catastrophic meddling by a terrorist organisation.

Early in the film we see Colm Feore’s nasty British arms dealer acquire a nuclear bomb for the organisation, a Vienna-based extreme group of neo-Nazis. As the film introduces his Damascus residence with a captioned satellite view of the Syrian city, we hear a clipped English accent say “Gosh. It’s not the sort of thing you find lying around normally…”. We then see that the voice is coming from the arms dealer’s television and that he is in fact watching – presumably on BBC World Service – an episode of The Antiques Roadshow. This clip was obviously chosen as a nod to the fact that a nuclear bomb is “not the sort of thing you find lying around normally”, except in the case of the Arab farmers who stumbled across the weapon.

The subject of discussion on The Antiques Roadshow is the bust of a woman, and when asked how she came by it the Scottish owner responds “I found her in the attic of an old mansion house in an old part of Glasgow”. It’s funny to think that this lady turned up at a hall somewhere with her antique possession for a simple valuation on the classic Sunday teatime show, and ended up appearing in a big budget movie starring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman. Her spot in the film is more than a couple of words too – we hear her continue to talk about the bust for a further 20 seconds as the arms dealer types an email. I wonder if she knows about her film appearance?

Incidentally, I really like The Sum Of All Fears. Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Jack Ryan wasn’t particularly popular as he was filling the shoes of Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford before, and the film is not hugely faithful to the book – which Tom Clancy picks up on in the DVD commentary – however it is a well made action thriller. Highlights are James Cromwell and Ciaran Hinds as convincing presidents of the USA and Russia respectively, and an extremely satisfying comeuppance for the bad guys to the strains of “Nessun Dorma”

Stunt Double: Restless Natives

restless nativesOnce again part of Glasgow stands in for Edinburgh in this 1985 crime comedy. Before watching it all I knew was that Restless Natives was partly filmed in Glasgow thanks to online sources, and this is indeed verified in the movie’s closing credits, however from what I can see Glasgow’s role is limited to a few scenes at the Necropolis.

Restless Natives follows two young friends – Ronnie and Will, played respectively by Glasgow born actors Joe Mullaney and Vincent Friell – as they set off regularly from their Edinburgh housing estate on motorbike to hold up and rob tourist coaches in the Highlands. They are pursued by the Scottish police, whose contingent is led by Robert Urquhart’s character Baird, and American actor Ned Beatty’s CIA agent Bender – who was on holiday and was on one of the first buses to be robbed. Meanwhile Teri Lally plays tour guide Margot, with whom romance develops for Will.

It’s not exactly award-winning material, but Restless Natives is harmless and fun and would probably have been a bit of light relief by Scottish or British movie standards in the mid 1980s. As well as the tourist-impressing scenery of Edinburgh and the Highlands, even domestic scenes – Ronnie’s flat and Will’s family home – are bright, colourful and cheerful. With the hairstyles, fashions, placements of the “Scotland’s For Me” slogan and “special appearances” by the likes of Nanette Newman and Mel Smith, it is certainly a good snapshot of the time. Beatty’s appearance and that of a group of Japanese reporters pursuing the Robin Hood style story give the film an international feel.

Glasgow’s Necropolis appears a few times in the movie as somewhere that the two friends meet to talk.

Recommended Reading: Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel

20130312_231800In my “Glasgow’s Global Visitors” posts to date I’ve focused pretty much exclusively on stars of my lifetime but rest assured I have every intention of going further into history and looking at visits from some of the older generations of silver screen stars.

It is with pleasure that I dip briefly into this past era in writing about a 2012 book I recently picked up – Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel. The Grand Central Hotel, formerly simply the Central Hotel, is joined to Glasgow Central Station and has been a city landmark since 1883. By the early 2000s the hotel was falling into some disrepair (I personally recall staying in a room there after a 2001 work Christmas night out and a leg falling off the bed!) and what should have been a vibrant part of one of the city’s main gateways was in a sorry state. However hotel chain Principal Hayley acquired the hotel, gave it a dramatic makeover and re-opened it in early 2011 as the Grand Central Hotel. I have since visited the hotel for meetings, charity dinners and a pint in the impressive Champagne Central bar and it certainly now appears like a fitting welcome to Glasgow – glamorous and friendly in equal measures.

It was following the re-launch of the hotel that Principal Hayley commissioned Bill Hicks (obviously not the late American comedian, but a journalist with over 40 years experience at The Sunday Post) and Jill Scott, also a newspaper journalist and formerly a librarian at the University of Glasgow to write a book about its past and present.

Of particular interest to Glasgow on Film is the chapter “Hollywood on Hope Street”. Spanning 40 pages this chapter features some of the highlights of the Central Hotel’s impressive list of musical, sporting and acting guests over the years. It is well illustrated too with some fantastic pictures from the archives. Among the film stars recorded in the book as having stayed at or visited the Central Hotel are Jimmy Durante, Nat King Cole, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Danny Kaye, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Guy Mitchell, Sammy Davis Junior, Roy Rogers, Paul Douglas, Billy Daniels, Broderick Crawford, Frankie Laine, Dale Evans, Mae West, Howard Keel, Gene Kelly, Douglas Fairbanks Junior, Dorothy Lamour, Larry Parks, Betty Garrett, Lena Horne, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Chico Marx, Margaret O’Brien, Ella Fitzgerald… and that’s just the Americans (and Stan Laurel)… all 30 of them!

I’ve only listed the names above, but the book adds another dimension with some genuinely interesting anecdotes including charming recollections from former staff and autograph hunters. What I love about this book, and in particular this chapter, is that it is further evidence of the strong and historic ties between Glasgow and Hollywood – the city was clearly an important place for film stars to be in the mid 20th century and while not always accompanied by the same degree of ceremony as yesteryear we are continuing to see this to some extent today through film-making, festivals, promotional visits and even straightforward holidays to Glasgow by the current stars.

Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel is available at various outlets in Glasgow, including Waterstones and Papyrus.

Stunt Double: The Purifiers

the purifiersthe purifiers 2I’ve decided to classify this post as “stunt double” as although there are settings in The Purifiers that are distinctly Glaswegian, Glasgow is never actually named in the movie and is referred to throughout simply as “the city”. Furthermore “the city” does appear to be a mash up of Glasgow and other British filming locations – Milton Keynes being one of those.

This 2004 film stars Kevin McKidd, Gordon Alexander, Dominic Monaghan and Amber Sainsbury and is described as “the story of martial arts clubs who have created their own city infrastructure after tiring of government initiatives”.

I feel pretty lazy lifting straight from the DVD cover to give a description but to be honest find this a tough one to write about – largely due to being pretty uninspired by it. Regular readers of Glasgow on Film will know that I am not  a film critic by trade – I am someone who simply likes films, and at that certain types of films more than others. I post here about links between Glasgow and movies, and not to nominate any critical comments – positive or negative – that I do make as being expert evaluations. For example, I didn’t have much to say about The House Of Mirth as it is not “my kind of film”, however I was a little bit savage about Postmortem and Tezz – that’s because I feel even as a layman that I’ve seen enough cop movies to distinguish between good and rubbish.

So I’m sorry to say, particularly as this is more of a homegrown production than Postmortem and Tezz, that The Purifiers bored me. Alexander as the leader of the good guys, McKidd as the leader of the bad guys and a repetitive loop of running around darkened shopping precincts and fighting, laced with conversation that unfortunately didn’t hold my attention very well. The plot actually put me in mind of some 1990s video games, but the beauty of the games was that they engaged the player – it’s different when all you can do is sit and watch. That’s about as much as I can say about it.

For Glasgow’s part in the film, there are some good opening views around the Clydeside featuring the Glasgow Science Centre and the Clyde Auditorium, while the Glasgow Subway features prominently too.

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Tim Robbins

tim robbinsName: Tim Robbins

Born: 16th October 1958 in West Covina, California, USA

Credits include: The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River, War Of The Worlds

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

When a major Hollywood name announces that they’re going to play a music gig at one of your regular drinking establishments just a few minutes from your home, it’s tempting to go along and see. And that’s exactly what I did along with a group of friends in October 2010 when Tim Robbins and his band The Rogues Gallery played a Saturday night at Oran Mor on the corner of Great Western Road and Byres Road. The folk performance had clearly generated curiosity among many Glaswegians as the venue was full and with people of varying age groups. The actor seemed down to earth, quite at home on the stage and the music wasn’t too bad at all. It is believed that after the gig Robbins and the band ate at the restaurant Bo’Vine across Byres Road.