Wednesday, 24 August 2011

When Holywood and Brad Pitt's "World War Z" came to Glasgow and took over George Square and other parts

George Square looking west

Since I started my blog a couple of years ago it has always been my intention to write a post about my home city of Glasgow but for some reason, until now, I have never done so.  I usually carry a small camera with me wherever I go and over time I have taken loads of photographs of Glasgow, and its wonderful architecture, but have yet to post about any of them here.

Glasgow City Chambers

Anyway, I am prompted to write about Glasgow today because there's been a bit of a buzz in the city centre for the past week and a half.  It all began last Monday (15 August), when a small but very nice part of my home city was taken over by the makers of an upcoming Holywood Movie, World War Z starring Brad Pitt..   George Square and a number of streets close by have been transformed to look like downtown Philadelphia, USA.  I know nothing about the film, or the book, and even less about film making, but I do think it is fantastic that Glasgow has been chosen to play host to big budget Holywood movie makers and it is a feather in the cap for all who made it happen. It seems that Glasgow's architecture and our grid system contributed to the success of hosting the movie - plus the fact it would appear to be less less expensive to recreate Philadelphia in Glasgow than to actually film in the city of Philadelphia!   I believe UK tax breaks for the film industry also played their part in the decision to film here.  Part of the deal, correct me if I am wrong, is that some local people must be recruited to work on the movie and as far as I know around 1,200 have been employed in various roles throughout filming so far.  The local economy is expected to benefit by up to £2 million over the period and hopefully Glasgow will be shown in a good light and will benefit even more after the release of the movie.

George Square on West George Street, Tron Church ahead

Having hired an entire train to transport Mr Pitt's cavalcade/circus from England (where he had also been filming) to Scotland - he apparently arrived at Glasgow Central Station two days after the film set began to go up in the city centre. By all accounts the station platform his train arrived at was cordoned off, blackout screens were erected, vehicles were allowed on to the platform concourse to whisk this one guy and his entourage away from public gaze. He'd apparently arrived in Glasgow, with body double in tow(!) plus more security than would accompany a head of state!  And all of this so that the 70! or so fans that his impending arrival managed to muster - who had waited some hours to catch a glimpse of this well-kent face - couldn't!  

Nice touch Brad.   You're an actor - you're here to work!  (I'm never quite sure if it is the fault of  "celebs" and their self-inflated egos when such a fuss is made over them - or if it is their puffed up "people" who make something out of nothing very much. Makes you wonder how other high profile folks get around without causing a stir.......?

Anyway, weekend before the big movie is about to get going I lose my camera so during the first week of filming I could only manage photographs from the camera on my mobile phone.   Hopefully I have managed to take enough pics to give a flavour of some of the goings on.

Views of the general area where filming is taking place - before the cameras arrived:

George Square from George Street

George Square at night

Photographs from the scene to follow.......


  1. Hello Isobel:
    Like you, we know nothing about this film or book and, in fact, precious little about Brad Pitt although we were aware of the hiring of the train to take him and his entourage to Scotland. Whatever, if it will help the economy, which surely it will, then it can be no bad thing.

    Ah, Glasgow! A city we have long wished to visit and about which we are always hearing very good things. It would seem that in recent years its image has completely changed and it is now more than a rival to Edinburgh. Your pictures serve to tempt us even more and we are determined that, one day at least, we will be there.

    Years ago, when it first opened, friends visited the Burrall Collection outside the city and pronounced it to be one of the best museums they had seen.

  2. i haven't been to glasgow yet hope to visit sometime. as far as the whole drama around brad pitt's arrival is concerned, hollywood A lister has arrived in the city so it will impact some way or the other...more positive than negative perhaps..

  3. Great to see dear old Glasgow, a great place to visit, especially when combined with a holiday near Loch Lomond!! So agree with your comments on the 'nonsense' surrounding celebby world - most un-Glasgow. Hope you're well.

  4. How unreal, the lives of people like this! I'm also intrigued at the reasons for choosing to cast Glasgow as Philadelphia. And I would love to see more of your views of Glasgow - I look forward to more posts. Meanwhile, your mobile phone pics are pretty damn good!
    I've just returned from a weekend in Edinburgh and, despite the chill and rain, enjoyed being there as much as ever. Friends from South Africa who were there for the Fringe were heading further north by car from there - I was v. jealous!

  5. Yes, I think it is always a circus when celebs come to town!
    Apparently, Brad Pitt is perfectly OK when not surrounded by 'handlers'.
    Good to see photos of Glasgow which I have never visited though I have been to Edinburgh on several occasions ( all nearly 40 years ago ie 1968!)
    So glad you are back blogging.
    I have quite given up on economics but putting people to work is always a good thing.
    They are always filming round here (I once saw Martin Scorcese out of our window!) Lots of papperazzi when I walked the dog to the park when
    Kate Winslet was getting seperated.
    No papperazzi for me!

    Happy weekend.