Starring Role: Donkeys

Donkeys – released in 2010, and winning Best Film at the 2011 BAFTA Scotland Awards – was the second release in a planned trilogy from the Scottish-Danish “Advance Party” collaboration. The first instalment was 2006’s Red Road and characters from that film Stevie (Martin Compston) and Jackie (Kate Dickie) return to play parts in a very different story. Tony Curran’s Clyde from Red Road also makes the most fleeting of cameo appearances.Donkeys 6

The most central characters are however old friends Alfred (James Cosmo) and Brian (Brian Pettifer). The film begins with the pair sitting in an empty looking Glasgow Airport, preparing to set off for a new life in Spain, however the plans stall and we soon learn that Alfred is not a well man. He sets out to straighten out parts of his life before it is too late – including trying to reconnect with his daughter Jackie and meeting and getting to know his illegitimate son Stevie, going about the latter in an unconventional way that causes awkwardness for all concerned. James Cosmo – rarely cast as a lead character – is excellent as Alfred, a man who is not a bad guy but displays some incredible stupidity that affects everyone around him.Donkeys 5

Donkeys is a fine example of a black comedy – there are some truly touching moments, but a number of hilarious lines. Malaga being described as “basically a warm Pontin’s” and Alfred using the phrase “they get things out” when telling his granddaughter about the birds and the bees are just two of the examples of the humour that features throughout.

A wealth of Glasgow locations all across the city are used in the film, including The Barras market, Queens Park and Anderston – where Alfred’s flat is located.

Movie Glaswegians: Tony Curran

tony curranBorn in Glasgow on 13th December 1969, Tony Curran is a much respected actor whose face is familiar on screens big and small in both British and American productions.

His first onscreen appearance according to IMDb was in a 1986 television Dramarama production called Wayfarers, while his first recorded movie role was in Bill Forsyth’s Being Human in 1994. Since these early days in his screen career Curran has taken on one off parts in television series – from minor police officer roles in Rab C. Nesbitt, Grange Hill and The Bill to a critically acclaimed turn as Vincent Van Gogh in a 2010 episode of Doctor Who and appearances in Boardwalk Empire and the rebooted Hawaii Five-O – as well as playing recurring characters in the likes of This Life and Ultimate Force.

In movies his credits include Gladiator, The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn, Pearl Harbor and X-Men: First Class. He played the key role of Clyde in the Glasgow-set Red Road – previously featured on this blog – and for this performance won the Best Actor category at the 2006 BAFTA Scotland Awards and British Independent Film Awards.

Tony Curran’s Wikipedia entry states that he attended Holyrood Secondary School and graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

 

Starring Role: Red Road

red roadred road 2red road 3Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize, multiple Scottish BAFTAs, rave reviews packed with words like “magnificent”, “classy” and “enticing”… Red Road is a must see for thriller aficionados. Yet it is done in a style that perhaps Glasgow can deliver best in terms of both its location and its talent – it is a thriller without races against time, melodrama and Psycho-style music strains; it is a thriller with pedestrian settings,  down to earth but still first class acting and a story that keeps the viewer curious and then rewards them with a big reveal.

The film stars East Kilbride born Kate Dickie as Jackie, a CCTV operator watching over the streets of Glasgow from the small and dark confines of an operations centre. Jackie appears to be someone with a void in her life – starting with a slightly awkward encounter with her father in law, we gradually learn more about her family life as the story develops and it becomes clear that she is someone who has suffered loss. She is also having an affair with one of her colleagues.

Early in the film Jackie becomes interested by a man she spots on one of the monitors and this begins to develop into an obsession to the point that she heads to the area on which she has seen him on screen – Barmulloch and the Red Road flats of the titles. Spying on him initially from afar, the seemingly quiet and inward Jackie even lies her way into a party in the flats to come face to face with the man. It is at the party that we are introduced to the other main characters: Clyde, the object of her interest, played by Glasgow’s Tony Curran; his friend Stevie, played by Martin Compston; and Stevie’s girlfriend April, played by Natalie Press.

Jackie spends more time with the three Red Road residents, leading to passionate scenes involving her and Clyde. But sex has not been her aim and ultimately we discover what has been fuelling her obsession. The character of Jackie is likeable and – as mentioned earlier – down to earth and therefore it is satisfying to see the woman finish the film as a happier and more relaxed individual than she is for most of the feature.

As for Glasgow’s role in the film – it is not an image of grandeur that is painted,  but the area of the city most prominently featured is presented with realism and without resorting to negative caricatures.

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!

Studio Time: Outpost

outpostoutpost 2So far Glasgow on Film has covered movies filmed and set in Glasgow, movies filmed on the streets of Glasgow but set elsewhere and even those filmed elsewhere but set in Glasgow. This new GoF category – Studio Time – has been created for films shot within the four walls of the Film City Glasgow studio in Govan, so therefore not using Glasgow’s streets, parks or any other distinguishing features as a backdrop but definitely Clyde built productions nonetheless.

Before going into the plot of Outpost, a little bit on Film City Glasgow…

Film City Glasgow is quintessentially Glaswegian, housed in the red sandstone former Govan Town Hall and just a stone’s throw from the River Clyde. Central to the complex is a 5,000 square foot studio and build space and there are production offices, workshop areas and rehearsal and meeting rooms. On its website Film City Glasgow is described as “the heart and soul of Scotland’s film and television industry”, a title justified by the impressive list of both television and film production companies who reside there, have used it as a base or both. In film, The Eagle, Perfect Sense, Red Road, Legacy, The Decoy Bride and Neds are among the productions in which Film City Glasgow has played a part. Film City Glasgow is currently leading proposals for a new, bigger studio scheme on the Clyde waterfront just next to the existing premises – this would include two studio sound stages, with one at around 20,000 square feet in size. If approved the new complex would have the potential to lead to even more movie making in Glasgow, a prospect which of course Glasgow on Film relishes.

Back to today’s subject matter Outpost, which had internal scenes shot in Film City Glasgow, with external scenes filmed on location in Dumfries and Galloway. Starring Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Paul Blair, Brett Fancy, Enoch Frost, Julian Rivett, Michael Smiley and Johnny Meres, Outpost sees a team of mercenaries and the scientist who hired them head to an underground bunker in a remote part of eastern Europe. The scientist, Hunt (played by Julian Wadham), has knowledge that the bunker was used by the Nazis during the second world war to experiment and develop an army of super soldiers, and is particularly interested in an anti-matter device housed within. The team discover what appears to be a survivor, and from then on in the film develops into its horror territory as the mercenaries are killed off one by one amid mysterious goings on. The film is classed as low budget – it was in fact the first release from Black Camel Pictures, founded by couple Arabella Croft and Kieran Parker who mortgaged their Glasgow home to finance Outpost – yet the quality surpasses that of many other movies made on budgets of similar or even higher amounts. Another contrast that does the film and the people behind it credit is that between its background and its plot – the story of a Glasgow couple mortgaging their house to fund a business sounds like it should be leading up to the opening of a new coffee shop in the west end, not a genuinely creepy and gruesome movie about undead Nazis.