This 2011 film has two settings, but a number of different filming locations. The opening scene is meant to be in Paris, but the majority of the film is set in the fictional Outer Hebrides island of Hegg.
Locations used included Dumfries, Argyll and the Isle of Man – the latter due to funding from Isle of Man Film. Filming also took place in and around Glasgow, with Film City Glasgow used for part of the production. In terms of external filming I personally could only identify one Glasgow location clearly – this was the cloisters of the University of Glasgow in a scene near the beginning, when Alice Eve’s character chases a paparazzo from her Parisian wedding.
Eve features as Hollywood A-lister Lara Tyler, whose marriage to David Tennant’s author James Arber the world’s media are desperate to cover. After a series of failed attempts at a private ceremony, Lara chooses remote Hegg – the setting of James’ best-selling book – as the perfect location for a wedding that no-one will find. Needless to say all does not go to plan and after a tip off the couple and Lara’s P.As (Michael Urie and Sally Phillips) are having to contend with hordes of journalists and eccentric locals. Local girl Katie – played by Kelly Macdonald – is drafted in as a “decoy bride” to throw the media off the scent of the actual nuptials, but after a series of mishaps and some bonding time between James and Katie the lead characters start to re-evaluate their lives.
The Decoy Bride is not a film I would have set out to watch were it not for the Glasgow connections, and it didn’t exactly win me over by the end. Some of it seems to drag on a bit and I felt that the storyline would have been better suited to a Sunday night three-parter on BBC One. That said, it was not without its rays of light – Sally Phillips co-wrote the film as well as appearing in it, and her strong comedy credentials do shine through with some genuinely funny lines and a couple of other amusing moments. For me the moment I started to relax and enjoy the film just a little bit was when a couple of the local old ladies reveal the souvenirs they have made – pebbles with faces crudely drawn on them, retailing at £1 or £1.50 “with hair”; Kelly Macdonald also raises a smile with her attempt to deliver wedding vows in a false American accent.
The UK premiere for The Decoy Bride took place at the 2012 Glasgow Film Festival.
Trainspotting could be regarded as one of the most significant British films of the modern era, and in Scottish terms is probably the most significant film full stop. Glasgow on Film has already studied the successful careers of Glaswegians Robert Carlyle and Kelly Macdonald, while the item on Perfect Sense just scratched the surface of Perth-born Ewan McGregor’s cinematic journey and the Shallow Grave article alluded to director Danny Boyle’s rise to legendary status. All of these inspirational stories and more are linked to the movie Trainspotting.
Released in 1996, Trainspotting is based on the novel of the same name by Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh. It follows the lives of a group of heroin addicts living in Edinburgh, with McGregor’s Renton being the central character. He is joined by friends Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Tommy (Kevin McKidd) and the previously mentioned Begbie – played tremendously by Robert Carlyle. Kelly Macdonald completes the top billed cast as Renton’s schoolgirl lover Diane, while James Cosmo, Shirley Henderson and Peter Mullan are among the strong support. The film has been described as a dark comedy – a fair enough appraisal as there are plenty of laughs, many of them accompanied by a cringe or a disbelieving shake of the head (a particular scene involving Spud and some bed sheets sticks in the mind). The main strand running through the story is Renton’s attempt to leave his drug abusing life behind which, ultimately, he succeeds in as the film concludes with him relocated to London in upbeat form.
The film had and continues to have a hugely recognisable identity, which is what makes it such an important part of British cinema. Among other items of merchandise released, posters adorned bedroom walls around the UK and a memorable soundtrack brought (in some cases renewed) attention to artists as varied as Iggy Pop, Underworld and Blondie. It gained critical acclaim around the world and won awards, also being nominated for Best Screenplay at the Academy Awards. From a Scottish point of view Trainspotting shook up the “shortbread tin” image of Scotland and launched a number of young acting talents into the limelight.
As with Shallow Grave, it was in fact Glasgow that lent itself to the majority of filming despite the feature being set in Edinburgh. Among the Glasgow locations used were Crosslands pub on Queen Margaret Drive, Cafe D’Jaconelli on Maryhill Road, Jordanhill School and the since demolished Volcano nightclub in Partick. Perhaps as a thank you to the city, the Odeon cinema on Renfield Street was chosen as the venue for Trainspotting‘s world premiere. Among the cast and other celebrities in attendance was Jonny Lee Miller’s girlfriend of the time, a then little known actress who would later return to Glasgow in 2011 very well known – Angelina Jolie.
Kelly Macdonald is another alumnus of Trainspotting and yet another of that film’s cast who has had a rich and varied film and television career since. Among her credits are No Country For Old Men, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Disney-Pixar’s Brave, in which she voiced the lead character – Merida. And although not a movie title, also worthy of a mention is her role as Margaret Thompson in the hugely successful HBO television series Boardwalk Empire.
Alongside Trainspotting, other Glasgow-connected works in which Macdonald has appeared include Strictly Sinatra, Stella Does Tricks, The Decoy Bride (all filmed or partly filmed in Glasgow)and Lassie, in which Dublin doubles as a mid 20th century Glasgow.
Kelly Macdonald was born in Glasgow on 23rd February 1976. She is married to fellow Glaswegian Dougie Payne, bassist and backing vocalist of the band Travis, and at the time of this posting the couple are expecting their second child.