Movie Glaswegians: David O’Hara

david o'haraBorn 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.

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 ( 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.

Starring Role: Doomsday

Doomsday is a 2008 feature from Neil Marshall, the English writer and director whose CV includes other gory Scotland-set movies Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Centurion.

The film opens with a bleak fate for Glasgow – over black and white footage of a busy Buchanan Street, Malcolm McDowell provides narrative information about the deadly Reaper virus which breaks out in Scotland leading to millions of deaths and ultimately the quarantining of Scotland from the rest of the UK.

Jump forward 27 years and the disease has resurfaced in London, threatening to wipe out the population of the capital and beyond. With intelligence suggesting that a cure was close to being found in a Glasgow hospital during the original outbreak, Major Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) must lead an elite fighting unit to find the cure in the post apocalyptic city which has been deserted by the authorities and is now controlled by murderous gangs.

While Glasgow has a reputation for doubling as other cities on screen, Doomsday saw another city – Cape Town, South Africa, to be precise – acting as Glasgow for certain action scenes. Some of the movie was however filmed in Glasgow, including scenes shot in the Haghill area to capture red sandstone tenement blocks whose doubles could never be found in Cape Town.

Alongside the aforementioned McDowell and Mitra, Doomsday‘s cast includes Bob Hoskins, Adrian Lester and David O’Hara.