VISITORS to Glasgow could be forgiven for thinking they’ve been transported to another country at the moment. Because a number of thoroughfares in the city centre have been transformed into a street scene from 1960s New York.

What’s happening?

It’s been widely reported that scenes for the fifth Indiana Jones film, set in the late 1960s, are being shot in Scotland.

So, what does that mean on the streets?

Drury Street, Renfield Street and West Nile Street are among those that have been decked out in American red, white and blue with messages welcoming the return of the US astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins from the first moon landing in 1969.

Hang on, isn’t Glasgow standing in for Gotham City in the next Batman movie too?

It is, indeed. The filmmakers shot scenes around the Necropolis and Glasgow Cathedral last year and there are rumours that the film’s star Robert Pattinson could soon be on his way to the city for more filming.

Is this a new development?

Not really. A decade ago, George Square stood in for Philadelphia in the Brad Pitt zombie epic World War Z. The same year the city doubled for both San Francisco in the 1970s and contemporary London in an adaptation of the David Mitchell novel Cloud Atlas, which starred Halle Berry, Tom Hanks and Susan Sarandon.

OK, not so new then?

Nope. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Glasgow’s City Chambers has stood in for both the Kremlin and the Vatican for movie-makers. The director Terence Davies transformed Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum into New York’s Grand Central Station for his 2000 film The House of Mirth.

Why does this keep happening?

When the TV series Patrick Melrose used Glasgow to stand in for New York, the supervising location manager Lloret Dunn, speaking to The Herald’s Susan Swarbrick pointed out that the city’s grand Victorian buildings and grid-style layout matched up well with the lay-out of American cities.

It might be more difficult for Edinburgh to stand in for Chicago, however.

What’s the advantage of filming in Glasgow?

The Glasgow Film Office is very proactive in helping film crews shoot in the city as well as providing funding subsidies for any film crews shooting in the city. There are also government tax incentives.

In return, Glasgow can point to a boost to the local economy that adds up to millions of pounds every year because of film and TV series filming in the city.

Is it just Glasgow that gets dressed up as other places?

No. Back in 1983, a TV drama about Guy Burgess, entitled An Englishman Abroad, (for which Glasgow City Chambers played the part of the Kremlin) recreated Soviet Russia in Dundee. The Caird Hall even stood in for the Bolshoi Ballet.