Written by Shona Smith on Feb 25, 2020. Posted in Awards and Festivals

Batman filming transforms Glasgow into Gotham City

Glasgow will feature heavily in Matt Reeves upcoming Batman film which will see Robert Pattinson take on the titular role. Principal production began in January in London, shifting to Glasgow in February.

Glaswegian locations reported to have welcomed on location filming so far have included the large Glasgow Necropolis cemetery, Glasgow Cathedral and Hartwood Hospital in North Lanarkshire. Various traffic restrictions have been put in place during the filming, and Pattinson's stunt double has been seen riding through Glasgow's streets on a jet black motorbike.

Glasgow offers much of the gothic, gritty architecture that past iterations of the fictional Gotham City have featured. Various global cities have previously starred as the comic book capital. Christopher Nolan based his take of Gotham City on Chicago, Illinois where The Dark Knight predominantly filmed. Nolan's 2012 follow up The Dark Knight Rises filmed in the US cities of Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and New York, where Trump tower was renamed Wayne Enterprises. Most recently, director Todd Philips shot award-winning Batman prequel Joker across New York and New Jersey.

Laid out in a north American grid style, Glasgow has parallels to the type of large US cities previously appearing as Gotham City.

A previous example of Gotham City

The Glasgow Film Office help facilitate productions in Galsgow and assisted in generating almost GBP12.5 million for the city’s economy in 2019 from filming activities. The slate of productions choosing to partially shoot in Glasgow in the recent past include 1917, HBO’s Succession, and Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs and Shaw.

Commenting on the success of 2019, Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council noted that productions “not only generate significant economy activity within the city, but they profile what Glasgow has to offer to the film and broadcast industry, from our locations to our crews and facilities”. Aitken hinted towards the upcoming Batman shoot by adding, “this approach has been so successful that I am sure we can look forward to hearing some super news about more major productions coming to Glasgow in the very near future".

Scotland is a popular filming destination, but the current lack of permanent studio space has deterred productions using Scotland as a base, with many opting in favour of on location shooting. Wardpark Studios, near Glasgow has some of Scotland’s only large scale soundstages and is expanding its soundstage capacity. Other projects opt to transform build spaces into temporary soundstages, like Avengers: Infinity War, which used an industrial site near Edinburgh as a base during filming in Scotland. With the region’s filming locations in such high demand, long awaited soundstages that are currently being developed are anticipated to bring in longer shoots and even more high-end projects to the region.

The Batman - Camera Test from Matt Reeves on Vimeo.

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