Stunt Double: The Acid House

the acid housethe acid house 2An Irvine Welsh book set in Edinburgh adapted into a film? It can only mean one thing… Glasgow once again making an appearance as the Scottish capital.

The book The Acid House is a collection of over 20 short stories by Leith’s best known novelist and the 1998 movie adaptation – supported by the Glasgow Film Fund – groups together three of the stories, namely “The Granton Star Cause”, “A Soft Touch” and “The Acid House”.

Trainspotting and Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy offered views of Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle as contrasts to the seedier sides of the city portrayed within those films. However there is no such imagery in The Acid House – just pure, unadulterated bleakness, certainly in the first two stories (funnily enough Glasgow appears most in the third one) which are played out on practically derelict yet still populated housing estates. There’s not much sign of the character redemption that is evident in Trainspotting and Ecstasy either – we are presented with some pretty grotesque characters and indeed some pretty grotesque imagery, from a close up of a fly transplanting matter from a dog’s mess onto a chicken korma in “The Granton Star Cause” to the pretty horrific looking baby “Tom” (a puppet that resembles a Terrahawks cast off and makes Chucky of Child’s Play fame look angelic by comparison) in “The Acid House”.

I may be wrong but “The Granton Star Cause” appears to have been filmed exclusively in Edinburgh – in a panoramic view of the housing estate the capital’s skyline is visible in the background. There is little to suggest to me in which city “A Soft Touch” was primarily filmed, but there is at least one brief scene – in which Michelle Gomez’ character Catriona staggers along a street at night – that is exposed as Glasgow by a glimpse of an “Evening Times” sticker in a shop window. As mentioned above, the third story – “The Acid House” – features some unmistakable Glasgow locations in quick succession. We see Jemma Redgrave’s middle class Mum Jenny and baby Tom inside the Kibble Palace at the Botanic Gardens, then walking along Dumbarton Road and going into what is in real life The Quarter Gill pub. Coco (Ewen Bremner) and Kirsty (Arlene Cockburn) are meanwhile on a shopping trip, which includes a bit of window shopping at The Diamond Centre in the Argyle Arcade.

Movie Glaswegians: Billy Boyd

billy boydBilly 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.

Stunt Double: Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy

ecstasyecstasy 2This 2011 film just scrapes on to Glasgow on Film, as the city’s presence is very fleeting. Yet again Glasgow is on stand-in duty for Edinburgh, however on this occasion the capital has more genuine screen time. What sets Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy apart from the likes of Trainspotting and the forthcoming Filth is that this movie is a Canadian production and therefore nearly all the interior scenes and some exterior scenes were filmed in Ontario.

Something that strikes the viewer about Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy is that the majority of the cast in this Scottish story are clearly not Scottish – natives lead actor Adam Sinclair and Billy Boyd aside, the rest of the cast appear to be Canadian. Sadly Canada’s strong Scottish roots do not guarantee a natural talent for Scottish accents here – the speech of major and minor characters seems to drift between Ireland and all regions of Scotland, with shades of Welsh comedian John Sparkes and the two “Foreign Guys” characters from Family Guy even creeping in at points. Failure for an actor to carry off a foreign accent is not an unforgivable thing (good grief, Sean Connery can hardly be praised for his efforts in sounding Russian, Spanish etc), but it does feel off-putting when nearly everyone in Edinburgh seems to talk so oddly. The film should not be written off on this basis however – particularly as some internet searching threw up a Daily Record interview with Billy Boyd in which he confesses his frustration with the lack of Scottish input to the feature, but states that director Rob Heydon had been trying his best for some years to make it a Canadian-UK co-production and that lack of funding from this side of the Atlantic led to him grudgingly taking so much of the production to Canada.

For their part, Adam Sinclair and Billy Boyd do the story justice – Sinclair in particular appears particularly comfortable as the central character Lloyd, a young man submerged in the world of chemical drugs and looking to break free from it. Canadian Kristin Kreuk, as Lloyd’s love interest Heather, is good too – shining perhaps as she is playing the part as a Canadian and not having to attempt a Lothian accent.

The film has a decent vibe about it – a good pace, although some sped up sequences feel like they have been borrowed from Trainspotting. Edinburgh looks pretty good throughout.

Glasgow Royal Infirmary appears in exterior footage for a hospital scene, while there is a very brief glimpse of Lloyd carrying out an exchange on the steps of what was Borders book store (soon to be a Zizzi restaurant) on Royal Exchange Square.

 

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!