GLASGOW has won a battle against its arch-rival across the M8 – by once again standing in for Edinburgh in a movie.
The film version of Sunshine on Leith, originally a stage musical, will be mostly filmed in Glasgow, even though most of the story takes place in the Edinburgh docks area.
The story focuses on two soldiers returning to Edinburgh after serving in Afghanistan, and features some of The Proclaimers’ greatest hits.
Glasgow War Horse actor Peter Mullan, along with Paul Brannigan who shot to fame in the Angels Share this year, have both been cast in the film.
English director Dexter Fletcher was in Leith yesterday as filming began in several locations around the north Edinburgh area.
The film, which highlights the I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) band’s 25-year career, has been described as Scotland’s answer to Mamma Mia.
Sources close to the production say the majority of the six-week shoot will take place in Glasgow where the film-makers are based, with less than a week’s filming in Edinburgh.
As was the case with Trainspotting and Shallow Grave before it, it is simply cheaper for crews to film in Glasgow than Leith.
Some scenes will feature more than 100 dancers acting out the band’s musical numbers.
An insider said: “A huge effort has gone into finding locations in Glasgow which look like they could be in Leith.
“A few locations around Edinburgh are being used to make it seem authentic, but most of the shoot will stay in Glasgow.”
The stage musical was a huge hit after its debut at the Dundee Rep theatre five years ago.
Earlier this year it was revealed Black Camel Pictures, responsible for the Outpost series of Nazi zombie horror films, had bought the rights to adapt the stage show.
Husband and wife Arabella Page Croft and Kieran Parker, who run the company, have previously spoken of their excitement about the project.
Mrs Croft said in June this year: “We want it to be one of those high quality British films that people come out to see because it makes them feel good about being Scottish or British.
“If we can achieve that we will be delighted. It is a feel good Scottish movie, dealing with a tough subject but dealing with it in a humorous, warm, loving way and hopefully people will embrace that.”
Creative Scotland backed the film, along with support from the BBC.
The Proclaimers themselves have hinted they might make a cameo appearance in the film.
Craig Reid, one half of the band, said this summer: “If something was offered and we were available then we would be delighted. Maybe a painter or decorator or a traffic warden.”
He said he first thought the musical would be a flop: “We thought they would get half way through making the stage show and then abandon it or, if it did make it to the stage, the halls would be half empty, so we’ve been delighted by the continued success.”
Caroline Parkinson, director of creative development at Creative Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to see the realisation of this exciting film and proud to have supported its development and production through our investment in Black Camel Pictures.
“It features a wealth of Scottish talent from writers, actors, craft and technical crew, not to mention showcasing the musical talent of The Proclaimers.”
Sunshine on Leith is only the latest in a series of Scotland-set films to be shot in different locations.
The majority of Edinburgh-set Trainspotting and Shallow Grave were shot in Glasgow for budget reasons.
The majority of the battle scenes in Braveheart were shot in the Republic of Ireland, with tax breaks on offer luring Mel Gibon’s production company away from Scotland.
Much of the finale of Skyfall, the latest James Bond film, was shot in Surrey despite the final action sequence taking place at Bond’s family home in the Highlands.
The production was moved after the location of the original planned location, Duntrune Castle in Argyll, was leaked.
Whisky Galore!, depicting the wrecking of a whisky-full ship on the island of Eriskay, was actually shot on the island of Barra.