THIS week it was revealed that some of the first production shots for the next Star Wars film will be shot in the Highlands in December. And it has been reported that Dalmeny Estate, in Queensferry, has been used for the Netflix film A Castle for Christmas, a romantic comedy starring Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes.

Both new items are a reminder of Scotland’s formidable record in attracting film and TV productions. Picturesque castles, glens, cities and towns have been pressed into service for all sorts of films, from historical dramas to action thrillers.



IT’S an arresting, pulse-quickening scene in the film: the moment when fear and mayhem ensue at the first sight of a pandemic. Back in 2011, George Square and its surrounding streets doubled for Philadelphia in Marc Forster’s acclaimed zombie thriller. Each day of the Glasgow shoot, large crowds watched from behind crash barriers as Brad Pitt (above), Mireille Enos, a film crew, 500 extras, 100 action vehicles and fast-multiplying zombies combined to cause chaos. The scene ended with a brief aerial shot of the devastated streets, people fleeing for their lives across the square.



SKYFALL Lodge, James Bond’s old family home, was actually built at Hankley Common, in Surrey; but the brief scene in which Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench step out of his Aston Martin and take in the spectacular scenery at Glen Coe and Glen Etive reminded you of the moody grandeur of this part of Scotland. Glen Etive itself has appeared in many Hollywood films, including numerous Harry Potter films, Braveheart and The 39 Steps. “Perfect for visiting all year round, this hidden gem will leave you mesmerized,” enthuses the website.


“With special thanks to the people of the village of Gourdon, Aberdeenshire”, reads the credit at the end of Paul Wright’s atmospheric film, For Those in Peril. George Mackay (later to be seen in 1917) stars alongside Kate Dickie; he plays a young man in a fishing community who is the sole survivor of an accident at sea. Wright grew up in the East Neuk of Fife but has said: “When we came to the film, for whatever reason, Gourdon in Aberdeenshire felt more like the village I grew up in than the actual village I grew up in”.



Bill Forsyth’s classic film was set in the fictional village of Ferness but was shot on location at Pennan, on the Banffshire coast, and at Camusdarach beach, just south of the estuary of River Morar. Denis Lawson, one of its stars, recalls the beauty of the scenery: “The landscape was like another character, intrinsic to the film”, he

told The Guardian in 2013.


The capital looked great in Ione Scherfig’s love story, which starred Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. Arthur’s Seat played a key role,as Warriston Close, Moray Place/Forres Street, Parliament Square, Calton Hill and Victoria Street/Terrace. Edinburgh has also, of course, featured in films as diverse as Trainspotting, Restless Natives, Filth, Sunshine on Leith and Cloud Atlas.