Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Al Pacino

al pacinoName: Al Pacino

Born: 25th April 1940 in New York City, New York, USA

Credits include: The GodfatherScarfaceHeat

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Over the past couple of years heavyweight actor Al Pacino has been taking to stages in cities around the world for a series of “An Evening with Pacino” engagements – think “An Audience with…” where the audience is made up of members of the public.

The British Isles appeared on Pacino’s radar in May 2015, with evenings in Dublin, Leeds, London and Glasgow – the latter on 19th May at the Clyde Auditorium.

The Glasgow event saw Pacino discuss his distinguished career with journalist Billy Sloan, before fielding questions from the audience. Reviews of the evening spoke highly of the actor’s passion and engagement throughout proceedings. Value for money would have naturally been important to audience members as the ticket prices made the headlines long before the Hollywood star arrived in town. The Glasgow date stood out as someone with an estimated £25,000 to spare could even have paid for a package that included a private jet flight from Glasgow to London with Al Pacino, as well as tickets to shows in both cities and five star accommodation in the capital.

Glasgow on Film: An Update

New Look

If you’ve visited this blog before you’ll notice a bit of a change. After putting off for ages what I thought would be a long and complex task, a few clicks on the WordPress control panel gave Glasgow on Film a bit of a makeover. I think it looks a tiny bit more stylish now, but more importantly I think it will be easier on the reader’s eye (the previous all-orange background was maybe a bit much).

Summer’s Here (Kind of)

My posts have again become less frequent than I’d like them to be, but that’s something I aim to work on as there is plenty more of Glasgow’s film story to tell. In fact, it’s a story that keeps growing arms and legs so I really should keep up!

While I’ve got a significant catalogue of well established Glasgow-set films waiting to be written about (God Help the Girl and That Sinking Feeling among those I have viewed and prepared notes on), lots of things that set our great city apart from many of its peers have been popping up so far this summer…

pacinoI like to keep a tally on here of the big Hollywood names to visit Glasgow (another seemingly endless list with plenty more tales to be told) and this roll of honour added a big hitter in May when the legendary Al Pacino appeared at the Clyde Auditorium. This wasn’t a highly guarded film shoot or a private getaway, but an up close and personal opportunity for a Glaswegian audience to hear the star talk to them about his career.

Last month also saw the cinema release of Spooks: The Greater Good, the unexpected spin-off from one of my favourite television series. This wasn’t so big a story for Glasgow but – you know me – I like a good mention of our town on the big screen and this movie delivered that more than once in a dramatic scene.

Look out in future for full “Glasgow’s Global Visitors” and “Cameo Appearance” posts on these two snippets. I wanted to finish by looking in more detail at a couple of bigger recent stories relating to Glasgow and film…

The Legend of Barney Thomson

Robert Carlyle’s directorial debut opened the Edinburgh International Film Festival last week, and this is a movie I am very much looking forward to seeing. With an impressive cast that includes Carlyle himself, Emma Thompson, Ray Winstone, Martin Compston, Tom Courtenay and Stephen McCole, the dark comedy looks fun and riotous. As you will see in the trailer below it wears Glasgow distinctly on its sleeve too. A review post will follow at a later date, including my own experience as an extra for a day on the film. (We’ll soon find out if I made the final cut – no barber pun intended).

Florence Foster Jenkins

This was one that came out of the blue on Friday night. I’d actually gone to bed and was just scrolling through Twitter when Daily Record journalist Bev Lyons’ Tweet about a Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant movie filming in Glasgow caught my eye. After initially resisting curiosity I was soon fully dressed again and in the car to Hillhead’s Kersland Street, which had been transformed into 1940s New York.

Bev Lyons’ article confirmed that Stephen Frears’ latest biopic – about American socialite Florence Foster Jenkins – had relocated from its main Liverpool base for the day to shoot some scenes in the Dear Green Place. Whether Streep was present in Glasgow or not is unconfirmed, but press photography showed Hugh Grant in Hillhead and earlier at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – reportedly doubling for Carnegie Hall. It would appear that this day and night shoot was a flying visit as no further filming in Glasgow has been reported. I did take a couple of pictures on Kersland Street – not the sharpest as I had flash off for obvious reasons, but you get the general idea…

SONY DSC

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Juliette Lewis

Name: Juliette Lewis juliette lewis

Born: 21st June 1973 in Los Angeles, California, USA

Credits include: Natural Born KillersWhat’s Eating Gilbert Grape, From Dusk Till Dawn

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Juliette Lewis visited Glasgow on a number of occasions when fronting rock band Juliette and the Licks. The actress has successfully combined a prominent screen career with a notable presence on the music scene, both as a solo singer and musician and with her band. Juliette and the Licks disbanded in 2009, however by that time Lewis and her band mates had achieved a veritable tour of Glasgow music venues having performed at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (2005), The Garage (2006), the Academy (2007) and the ABC (2009).

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Gwyneth Paltrow

gwyneth paltrowName: Gwyneth Paltrow

Born: 27th September 1972 in Los Angeles, California, USA

Credits include: Se7enShakespeare In LoveIron Man

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Gwyneth Paltrow visited Glasgow, and specifically St Simon’s Church in Partick, in July 2005. The reason for her visit was the wedding of actor Simon Pegg to East Kilbride born Maureen McCann. Paltrow arrived with husband Chris Martin and daughter Apple, to whom Pegg is godfather. Little other information is reported about the movements of the celebrity guests during the wedding day – a surprising and no doubt welcome departure from the usual intense media attention that such events can attract.

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Justin Timberlake

Justin TimberlakeName: Justin Timberlake

Born: 31st January 1981 in Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Credits include: Inside Llewyn DavisSouthland TalesIn Time

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Justin Timberlake arrived at movie acting after an entertainment career that had already seen him feature in television’s The Mickey Mouse Club as a young “Mouseketeer” and then lead boy band ‘N Sync, before going on to enjoy an incredibly successful solo music career that continues to this day. His acting career has been more successful than that of many of his musical colleagues who have made the leap onto the big screen too – important roles in critically acclaimed dramas like The Social Network and Inside Llewyn Davis are on his portfolio alongside comedies like Bad Teacher and animation voice overs such as Yogi Bear.

Timberlake has brought his solo tours to Glasgow twice in the past decade. In 2004 he played three consecutive nights at the SECC and more recently he performed for two nights at the neighbouring SSE Hydro in April 2014. His 2004 visit included an additional impromptu concert at the Barrowlands just hours after an SECC performance and an appointment at Hampden Stadium organised by tour sponsors McDonald’s, who arranged for him to meet Scottish footballing legend Kenny Dalglish and a number of schoolchildren as part of their community partnership with the SFA.

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett JohanssonName: Scarlett Johansson

Born: 22nd November 1984 in New York City, New York, USA

Credits include: Lost In TranslationAvengers AssembleThe Prestige

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Scarlett Johansson spent time in Glasgow during both 2011 and 2012, as she filmed scenes for Under the Skin – which was released this year.

The filming of the movie itself took her to a myriad of locations across the city, sometimes filming on foot and other times behind the wheel of a transit van. The dark haired wig which Johansson donned for the role stopped the very well known Hollywood actress from being instantly recognised, and therefore remarkably she was able to walk among crowds in locations such as the Trongate and Buchanan Galleries shopping centre without passers by batting an eyelid – something that suited the hidden camera approach to filming that director Jonathan Glazer had opted for.

And in her free time she was spotted around the city too – the media reported eyewitness accounts of her at venues including the Nice N Sleazy bar on Sauchiehall Street and Cafe Gandolfi restaurant on Albion Street.

The promotional duties for Under the Skin saw Scarlett Johansson asked regularly about her experiences in Glasgow, by journalists from both Scotland and beyond. In an interview at the 2014 Venice Film Festival she said that the most Glaswegian thing she tried was “that orange soda that they drink” (Irn Bru), and previously in 2011 on The Late Show with David Letterman she told the host that “Glasgow is a great city.” In March of this year the Daily Mirror reported that Johansson was planning to move to Glasgow to live… a story that to date has gained no further momentum.

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Nick Offerman

Name: Nick Offerman

Born: 26th June 1970 in Joliet, Illinois, USA

Credits include: We’re The Millers21 Jump StreetSin City

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Actor Nick Offerman appears to be one of Hollywood’s more unique characters (how many actors also run their own woodshop?) and has earned roles in a number of successful movies, ranging from dark and gritty Sin City to the “Everything is Awesome” world of The Lego Movie.

In The Lego Movie he provides voice talent alongside the film’s lead Chris Pratt, who happens to be his co-star in the highly rated NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation. It was in fact this series that brought Offerman to Glasgow in 2013 – without wishing to give away too much of a plot spoiler for an episode that hasn’t yet aired in the UK, his character Ron Swanson is seen briefly walking across the main concourse of Glasgow Central Station. If this is news to you, you have two options: Google it to find out why; or until the episode is broadcast in the UK enjoy speculating over “how the hell did Ron Swanson end up in Central Station!?”

That Nick Offerman’s appearance in the busy transport hub – and in particular in character as Swanson – didn’t appear to generate media coverage or a local social media meltdown at the time is a bit of a miracle. The complicated director of the parks and recreation department has become a cult figure, and this is certainly notable in Glasgow – in recent months alone I’ve seen his image on a gig poster in the Flat 0/1 bar and nightclub on Bath Street, while at The Shop of Interest in Finnieston two brooches designed by Kate Rowland are displayed in the window: one features man of the moment Walter “Heisenberg” White, the other Ron Swanson. When the episode featuring Glasgow aired in the USA and news reached these shores, plenty of Glaswegians took to Twitter to lament the fact that they hadn’t taken the train that day…