Bea reflects on how the Scottish psyche handled Glasgow city centre transforming into a movie set for many blockbuster movies over summer 2021.
Those of us not in Glasgow over the summer months may have missed the new kind of lockdown imposed upon the city; gone were the pub closures and social distancing warnings, and in came a Hollywood studio shutdown. Road closures across the city centre disrupted daily commutes, not to mention the large crowds that gathered to see Robert Pattinson's body-double taking on the gridded streets with his Batcycle. With shoots for Indiana Jones 5, The Flash and The Batman taking place over a series of weeks this summer, the people’s capital suddenly became a hot spot for Hollywood production crews. But, taking into account the well-documented idea of the inbuilt Scots inferiority complex, will we be able to process this sudden focus and enjoy this close-up as (very different) worlds collide?
Of course, this wasn’t the first time La La Land has come to visit The Dear Green Place — we had Brad Pitt scampering across George Square in World War Z (2013), and who could forget Scarlett Johansson’s jaunt to Buchanan Galleries in Under the Skin (2013)? However, locals’ reactions to this summer’s filming schedule proves that it all still feels like a novelty to us Glaswegians. Edinburgh has long been a much-loved filming location for the Hollywood crowd: Avengers: Infinity War (2019) took over the Royal Mile to house Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, while the new Fast and Furious: F9 (2021) featured the capital being destroyed by Vin Diesel and co. In the midst of it all, Glasgow has long been left out of major location scouting. But times are changing: aside from recent filming takeovers, the homegrown Scottish film and TV industry is growing, too. Even Kelvin Hall, a mere 10 minute walk from campus, is in the process of building a £11.9m film and television production facility.
While our down-to-earth nature may initially reject the glitz of the Hollywood lens, I think there’s a real argument for welcoming these film crews into our city. The city has long been a draw for foreign and domestic tourists: 2.5 million visited the city in 2019. There’s a pride in being a Glaswegian, whether you’re a native or just here for a year or four for university, that goes hand-in-hand with the inevitable badge of shame we seem to have been sporting since birth. It’s about time we show our city to the world, and embrace the limelight while we have it; who knows, maybe we can finally one-up Edinburgh in something.
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