Hollywood actor Gerard Butler hails Glasgow's filmstar qualities

Category: Misc./General Career News | Posted by: maryp
Article Date: December 2, 2009 | Publication: Scotsman.com | Author: MARTYN McLAUGHLIN
Publication/Article Link:Scotsman.com

ACTOR Gerard Butler yesterday hailed Glasgow as the "most film-friendly place" in the world, and urged producers and directors to shun the likes of London and Los Angeles for Scotland's biggest city.

The 300 star said the city boasted the logistics, architecture and crews to stage Hollywood features, and revealed he would "jump at the chance" to make another film in Scotland.

The Paisley-born actor has been appointed ambassador for the Glasgow Film Office (GFO), a local authority initiative to attract film and television productions to the city. Butler, 40, flagged up an early film role, in Dear Frankie, as his most enjoyable. He said the drama about a single mother and her son, set in Glasgow and Inverclyde, was a "great experience".

He continued: "There was never any issue with locations, and the crews were incredible and friendly. Dear Frankie was low budget, but it was one of the most fun, pleasant experiences."

He added: "You can do all kinds of movies here, whether it's a historical drama, action, a thriller. There's all kinds of architecture. You can have a small city feel or a big city feel, and you're very close to the countryside as well.

"The logistics make it easy to get about. You're not going to get stuck in ridiculous traffic jams, like in London, where it took me an hour, an hour and a half, to get to work. In America, it's the same; travelling is just a nightmare, but you don't get that here."

Butler, who has been appointed ambassador for two years, will use his celebrity to draw attention to Glasgow as a viable production base. He has already put his commitment into practice by bringing the UK premiere of Law Abiding Citizen to Glasgow last month.

He also revealed that a long-awaited film about Robert Burns is being rewritten to emphasise the poet's romantic liaisons. Butler, who has been tipped to play the title role in Burns, which has been in development for several years, said: "We are taking another shot at the script. We are trying to make it a lot more fun and romantic and more commercial."

The GFO said film and TV productions contributed nearly £18 million directly to the city's economy last year. In the past 12 months, the organisation has helped 15 productions film scenes in the city, including The Last Word, starring Ewan McGregor.

While Scottish Screen offers various types of funding, GFO does not provide production financing, instead offering advice on the likes of crews, facilities and accommodation. It offers introductory visits for key personnel, giving film-makers an opportunity to see what the city has to offer.

The GFO has also launched the Glasgow Film Partnership, a collaborative body of creative industries to "ensure that filming happens easily and effectively".