Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Hugo Weaving

Name: Hugo Weaving

Born: 4th April 1960 in Austin, Nigeria

Credits include: The MatrixV for VendettaCaptain America: The First Avenger

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

The Nigeria-born Australian actor played numerous roles in 2012’s Cloud Atlas – including that of hired assassin Bill Smoke in the 1970s San Francisco segments of the movie. This required Weaving, along with Halle Berry and Keith David, to be present for filming of a dramatic car crash and shoot-out scene on Douglas Street in 2011.

Stunt Double: Cloud Atlas

Fresh from seeing it as part of last year’s Glasgow Film Festival, I posted in February 2013 about Cloud Atlas. That post summed up my positive feelings about the film and I’m pleased to say that I’ve since watched it again and found it equally enjoyable the second time around. cloud atlas 1

For anyone who hasn’t seen Cloud Atlas I’ll summarise, or rather, not for the first time I’ll rely on the DVD’s blurb to ensure I give an explanation of the plot that’s as clear as possible! “Tom Hanks and Halle Berry lead an all-star cast in interwoven tales as time shifts between past, present and future. As characters reunite from one life to the next, their actions generate consequences…”cloud atlas 6cloud atlas 7cloud atlas 5

Cloud Atlas was filmed in 2011, mainly in Germany, Majorca and the UK, with both Glasgow and Edinburgh being used as filming locations – the latter appearing as a period version of itself at some points.cloud atlas 3cloud atlas 2

Glasgow on the other hand took on its most diverse role yet, doubling within the one feature as 1936 Cambridge, 1973 San Francisco and contemporary London.

The brief exterior Cambridge scenes, featuring James D’Arcy as the character Rufus Sixsmith, were filmed on the grounds of the University of Glasgow. The San Francisco scenes had two main hubs where Halle Berry, Keith David and Hugo Weaving filmed scenes: George Street, where the building housing a Premier Inn hotel appeared as the apartment block where Berry’s Luisa Rey lived; and in the Anderston area, particularly on Douglas Street, where the three actors were involved in a dramatic car crash and shoot out scene. Here, CGI was used to cleverly replace the south east of Glasgow with San Francisco Bay – including the Bay Bridge – on the horizon. During one of the segments of the film set in present day London, Jim Broadbent’s Timothy Cavendish is seen to emerge from a building – used here as an exclusive menswear store – on St. Vincent Street. A night-time St. Vincent Lane also appears when a minor character meets a violent end during one other London scene. Finally, Jim Broadbent is seen visiting a red sandstone villa on more than one occasion in the film – this looks undoubtedly like it is in the south side of Glasgow however I have been unable to find any conclusive confirmation of this. Any comments that can clarify this point would be most welcome.

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Halle Berry

halle berryName: Halle Berry

Born: 14th August 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Credits include: Cloud Atlas, X-Men, Die Another Day

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Halle Berry was in Glasgow in 2011 to film parts of Cloud Atlas. Among the handful of scenes that she filmed in Glasgow were the dramatic car crash sequence – also featuring Keith David and Hugo Weaving – on Douglas Street and her departure from her San Francisco apartment block, as portrayed by the Premier Inn hotel on George Street.

Recommended Reading: World Film Locations: Glasgow

world film locationsA couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had received my copy of World Film Locations: Glasgow, edited by Nicola Balkind. Having finished reading it recently I’m pleased to say it’s a great read.

We are very lucky that our city has such a rich history and that is reflected on the shelves of Glasgow’s book stores – not every city in Britain or indeed Europe will have as many tomes devoted to its sporting achievements, its architecture, its musical heritage, its dialect, its public transport… But until fairly recently there’s not been a huge amount published about Glasgow’s significant place in the world of cinema. World Film Locations: Glasgow helps ensure that this important chapter in Glasgow’s history is recorded in book form and as a bonus its own recommended reading section has pointed me in the direction of some other books on the matter which I look forward to sourcing and reading.

The joy of the book is being reminded how many movies have been made in Glasgow – there are brilliant two-page features on 38 films, each consisting of concise and interesting summaries of the plots and locations, and illustrated with captures from those productions. The films featured span the decades from O Lucky Man! in 1973 to Perfect Sense in 2011 and in addition to these features many more films are referenced, such as 1996’s Small Faces and the recently released Cloud Atlas.

Alongside the individual movie features sits a series of essays, opening nicely with Paul Gallagher’s Glasgow: City of the Imagination and concluding with Nicola Balkind’s Glasgow: Hollywood’s Film Set, which itself concludes with a stirring opinion on the potential of Glasgow’s film-making future. The other essays are Cinema City: Glasgow’s Passion for Cinema by Neil Johnson-Symington; Glaswegian Comedy: A Distinct Sense of Humour by Keir Hind; The Gift of Constraint: Danish-Scottish Collaboration and the Advance Party by Pasquale Iannone; Glasgow’s Kitchen Sink: The Cinema of Ken Loach and Peter Mullan by David Archibald; Dear Green Shoots: Underground Film-Making In Glasgow by Sean Welsh. All essays both educate and entertain.

It was particularly nice to see the former Toledo cinema in Muirend discussed in Neil Johnson-Symington’s essay – as a child of the 1980s this was my local cinema as the Cannon initially and then taking on the ABC and Odeon names before its sad closure. This was where I made my first cinema visit aged five- to see Superman IV: The Quest For Peace!

World Film Locations: Glasgow is available to order on Amazon.

Post-trip catch up

Glasgow on Film has regretfully been neglecting blogging duties recently due to some time away with work, and then last week a holiday in the USA. However -hopefully back to business as usual now and among the many and varied subjects coming this way soon will be: Glasgow’s roles and contributions in Dear Frankie, Hallam Foe, Beautiful Creatures and Ratcatcher; visits to the city by Dwight Yoakam, Jean Reno and Charlton Heston; a look at the acting careers of David O’Hara and Billy Boyd.

Before we look at these matters in the coming days though it really is necessary to have a catch up on what has been a big week for film in Glasgow…

World Film Locations: Glasgow

world film locationsWhile across the Atlantic, GoF’s postlady had been with a delivery from Amazon – the brand new book World Film Locations: Glasgow, edited by Nicola Balkind. It is everything Glasgow on Film could ask for in a book – packed full of profiles of movies old and new that have been made in the city, as well as studying themes such as Glasgow’s passion for cinema and Glaswegian humour.

GoF is looking forward to sitting down and reading this book – the latest in a series which includes other cities such as London, Los Angeles and Dublin. If you are interested in film to the point of reading this blog, then you will almost certainly be familiar with Nicola Balkind’s work – she is a freelance web editor and film journalist who has contributed to a number of previous World Film Locations titles. Edited by Nicola and with contributions from more of Scotland’s best and brightest film commentators, this will be essential reading for all film enthusiasts – Glaswegian or otherwise. You can read more about the book and order it on Amazon and you can also visit Nicola’s website.

Glasgow Film Festival

empireThe ninth Glasgow Film Festival (www.glasgowfilm.org) kicked off on 14th February and lasts until 24th February. Alongside the premieres of new films and screenings of classics, plus visits from the likes of Eli Roth and Joss Whedon, are themed strands which this year include a retrospective of James Cagney, a celebration of Brazilian cinema and “Game Cats Go Miaow!” in which Burnistoun star Robert Florence looks at Scotland’s passion for gaming. It is fantastic to witness this festival grow in stature each year and when sitting in Heathrow last Saturday awaiting the flight to New York it was very pleasing to see this stylish advert in Empire magazine.

Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas comes out on general release in UK cinemas this Friday, but had its first UK cinema screening at Glasgow Film Theatre last night as part of the Glasgow Film Festival. Glasgow on Film was lucky enough to be in the audience. A full analysis will follow on here at a later date when more people have had a chance to see the film first hand, but some top line points to make about it are:

– it’s really, really good – the THREE directors have lovingly crafted a truly impressive production.

– the acting is tremendous – you’ll see well known actors play in styles you’ve never seen them do before. While it would be tough to choose a stand out performance, Glasgow on Film if pushed would have to highlight Hugh Grant – not one of his multiple roles bear any resemblance to the foppish romantic comedy roles that he has previously been best known for.

– Glasgow looks brilliant in its guises as San Francisco, London and – something not widely reported previously – Cambridge.

– There are a number of nods to Scotland, including scenes filmed and actually set in Edinburgh, therefore coupled with the Glasgow filming connections these make Cloud Atlas likely to be a conversation piece across the land for weeks and months to come.

Well done to the festival organisers for securing this screening, which included a Q&A session with one of the film’s stars – James D’Arcy.

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Keith David

keith davidName: Keith David

Born: 4th June 1956 in Harlem, New York, USA

Credits include: Platoon, Crash, Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Keith David was in Glasgow in 2011 filming for the movie Cloud Atlas, which will be released in UK cinemas this year. He was spotted filming the scene mentioned before on this blog in which Glasgow is doubling for 1970s San Francisco, along with Halle Berry and Hugo Weaving. Press photographs show David wearing 1970s clothing and wielding a gun for the shoot.

Welcome To 2013!

First of all, a very Happy New Year to all – hope 2013 brings you everything you wish for.

Today Glasgow on Film is taking the opportunity to look forward to what promises to be a vintage year for cinema exposure, and to share hopes and wishes for what else can come the city’s way…

Coming Soon

2011 and 2012 were big years for movie production in Glasgow – 2013 sees the fruits of the film-makers’ labours hit the big screens, and it is hard to remember any other time when so many Glasgow linked features were due to come out. And what a variety of movies too – see below for the releases that are coming our way in 2013.

Cloud Atlas:Already released in the USA (and in fact due for DVD/Blu-Ray release there on 5th February), this ambitious production hits British cinema screens on 22nd February. Based on a 2004 novel by British author David Mitchell, this is a German production written and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer. The film’s official synopsis reads: “…Cloud Atlas explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future”. The movie is set in multiple places and times and as such, filming took place at locations across Europe including Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Majorca and of course Glasgow. Glasgow was used for the filming of two scenes – one set in 1970s San Francisco and involving Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving and Keith David (filmed around the Bothwell Street/St Vincent Street area, this involved a car crash and gunfire); the other scene was filmed further along St Vincent Street and involved Jim Broadbent leaving a mocked up tailor’s shop in what appears to be contemporary (or 20th Century) London. As became something of a habit in 2011, GoF went along for a “nosey” at the San Francisco scene filming and managed to spot Hugo Weaving and – from a distance – Halle Berry. Look out at 1.11 on the trailer below for a very fleeting glimpse of this scene.

The Fast And The Furious 6: The latest instalment in this long running series of road-based action movies, starring Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, is released in cinemas on 24th May. It has been indicated that the setting for this movie (previous The Fast And The Furious films were set in the USA and in one instance Tokyo) will be London and while much of the filming took place in the capital, Glasgow and Liverpool lent their streets and tunnels as stunt doubles for a couple of scenes. The scene shot on Glasgow’s Cadogan Street did not involve any of the film’s actors, however there was a car chase involving some impressive stunts – including a Metropolitan Police car being flipped into the air. Better captures of the action can be found on YouTube, but here anyway is GoF’s rather primitive footage of some of the vehicles setting off.

wwz 13World War Z:Mentioned here before, the 2013 movie that is perhaps most highly anticipated by Glaswegians. Released on 21st June, the feature that saw George Square transformed into Philadelphia has Brad Pitt travelling the globe as a United Nations employee while the nations of the world struggle against a zombie pandemic. Here once again is the trailer, with Glasgow featuring heavily at the start, and one of GoF’s set photos.

Others to look out for, with release dates still to be confirmed, are: Under The Skin – Scarlett Johansson became a familiar sight in Glasgow, shooting this movie about a seductive alien; Filth– another Irvine Welsh novel turned into a movie, this one starring James McAvoy and Jamie Bell; Not Another Happy Ending – a romantic film starring Karen Gillan.

Hopes For 2013

Glasgow on Film hopes that all of the above films will be successful, further inspiring confidence in the city as one of the world’s leading movie making locations. It would be great to see even more productions come to Clydeside – the reputation is definitely out there now so who knows who will roll into Glasgow next. Perhaps 2013 will be the year that a new studio complex in Govan is given the green light – if so that will lead the way for a very bright future for the movie industry in Glasgow.

In the meantime Glasgow on Film looks forward to continuing to catalogue everything that links the city to the big screen. Later this week subjects will be as diverse as Glasgow’s appearance in The Fourth Protocol, visits by Mila Kunis, Ardal O’Hanlon and Bruce Willis and the movie appearances of Tony Roper. And coming soon a look at many more films including Young Adam, Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy, NEDS, Red Road and The Angels’ Share.

Thank you for visiting and once again, a very Happy New Year!