It’s been a while since my last trip to Glasgow, Scotland’s other city – over three years in fact! I visited for Glasgow Film Festival in early 2015 and I didn’t see nearly enough of the place. But there are a surprising amount of Hollywood film locations in Glasgow for a number of reasons that might surprise you.
Firstly, Glasgow is a historically industrial city and you’re more likely to find modern, urbanised areas than the cobbled streets of somewhere like Edinburgh. It’s got the anonymity of other famous stand-in cities like Vancouver, Canada and Atlanta in Georgia, USA. Don’t get me wrong, Glasgow is unique in its own way and a lot of landmarks could only be found there. But you’ve got to admit, it’s more chameleon-like than Edinburgh.
Let’s have a look at the Hollywood film locations in Glasgow. One film hasn’t even been released yet!
Hollywood Film Locations in Glasgow
1. Douglas Street as seen on Cloud Atlas (2012)
Where: G2 4EZ
Cloud Atlas is possibly one of the few Hollywood films (aside from Trainspotting (1996) and T2 Trainspotting (2017) but that’s a British film) that have used filming locations in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. I still haven’t watched Cloud Atlas but from what I gather, the same actors become different characters in different time zones and their souls are reborn again and again… or something.
Douglas street and Montrose street were Cloud Atlas’ Hollywood film locations in Glasgow as they stood in for 1970s San Fransisco. Both streets are wide with steep hills. And I imagine it’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to film in Glasgow instead of San Fran. Particularly if you’re trying to represent a different era.
2. Broomielaw as seen on Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Where: G2 8AE
The sixth instalment in the Fast and Furious Franchise (creatively named Fast & Furious 6) was largely set in London. So, this time Glasgow filming locations were used to stand in for a city a little closer to home.
During a high-speed car chase through London’s busy streets, the filming switches to Glasgow’s financial district around Broomielaw, Cadogan Street and Wellington Street. The tunnel is in Merseyside, and then the team end up back in London near Wembley Stadium. All very seamless, and we’re all none the wiser! Unless you research filming locations as much as I do, of course.
3. George Square as seen on World War Z (2013)
Where: G2 1DH
Glasgow steps in for a US city again. But this time it isn’t San Fransisco, it’s apocalyptic Philadelphia. World War Z stars Brad Pitt as a United Nations investigator who now has to search for a cure to stop the zombie pandemic taking over the world. World War Z also shot in Malta which is another country I’ve visited recently.
The American city grid-like layout around George Square makes it the ideal filming location in Glasgow to stand in for an urban, modern American city like Philadelphia. Other Glasgow filming locations that were used in World War Z include Cadagon Street (like Fast & Furious 6) and Bothwell Street.
4. Buchanan Galleries as seen on Under The Skin (2013)
Where: 220 Buchanan St G1 2FF
I know, Under The Skin is technically a British independent film. And if I’m including this film, then why am I not including Trainspotting? Well, firstly, I already have a Trainspotting filming locations post. And I just feel that with all the buzz surrounding Under The Skin because of its lead, Scarlett Johansson, it’s more ‘Hollywood’ than a lot of other British indies.
Scarlett Johansson plays an alien who drives around Glasgow/the Highlands and preys on men (a bit of a simplistic way of describing the plot but let’s just go with it). She wears a dark, bobbed wig in the film which might be why she was able to shoot around Glasgow with minimal recognition from the locals. One of the opening locations is Buchanan Galleries, a shopping mall in Glasgow. But some streets that she drives down in Glasgow include Celtic Park and George Street.
5. Hutchesons’ Hall as seen on The Wife (2017)
Where: 158 Ingram St, G1 1EJ
A slightly different change of pace as The Wife is an Award-winning drama while most of these films fit in the action/fantasy genres. However, like many of these Hollywood film locations in Glasgow, The Wife is set a little the US (around Connecticut) and largely in Stockholm, Sweden but filmed almost entirely in Scotland.
The Wife follows a woman who is married to a troubled, and failing, author until she agrees to help him write one book which becomes a bestseller and the deceit snowballs. Years of secrets and lies are about to be revealed when her husband is nominated for a Nobel prize in Literature.
Glasgow stands in for the city of Stockholm (see, told you it was a versatile city) in The Wife. Hutchesons’ Hall is a beautiful, renovated building in Glasgow with a Steak House and event spaces so likely was the interior for a lot of the Nobel prize scenes.
6. City Chambers as seen on Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
Where: 82 George Square G2 1DU
Annnnnd our final Hollywood film location in Glasgow is one we can’t be too sure about because the film hasn’t been released yet! Hobbs & Shaw is a spin-off from the Fast & Furious franchise starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. It’s set in London and, much like its predecessor Fast & Furious 6, will use film locations in Glasgow to recreate London, but in a much quieter, less congested city.
Glasgow can be seen on the trailer and the archway of Glasgow City Chambers on John street as well as Ingram Street and Vincent Street can be spotted during, yup, another high-speed car chase. I hope the people of Glasgow don’t mind their city momentarily shutting down for all these Hollywood car chase stunts.
Those are all the big Hollywood film locations in Glasgow! Have you watched any of these big Hollywood films that use Glasgow filming locations? Let me know in the comments below!