Scottish Daily Mail

Joy of when Hol­ly­wood comes to Holy­rood

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LAST week, while walking through Foun­tain­bridge in Ed­in­burgh, I passed a small, damp camp­site of movie trail­ers lo­cated on a build­ing site near the Cineworld com­plex.

This was the clos­est Trainspot­ting 2 came to the Ed­in­burgh In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val this year, de­spite Robert Car­lyle, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewan McGre­gor and Ewen Brem­ner pop­ping up at lo­ca­tions all over the city this month, and the fes­ti­val putting on an an­niver­sary screen­ing of the first film at the week­end.

Never mind: other movie tal­ent has been only too happy to head to the 70th film fes­ti­val, un­de­terred by pre­vi­ous Ed­in­burgh ex­pe­ri­ences: Da Vinci’s Demons star Tom Ri­ley brought the world pre­miere of his new movie Starfish to town, then cheer­fully re­called to me that when he first came to the cap­i­tal for the Fringe a few years ago, his theatre group packed them­selves into a tiny flat – with Tom sleep­ing in the bath­room, which he shared with an­other ac­tor. It’s per­haps best to draw a veil over his de­scrip­tion of the ablu­tions ar­range­ments.

Clancy Brown also came to town. The 6ft 5in ac­tor – with a voice like ev­ery af­ter­shave com­mer­cial you’ve ever heard and a head like a hand­some horse – ad­mit­ted to me that he was mildly baf­fled to find him­self mark­ing the 30th birthday of cult movie High­lander.

‘That’s for films like Lawrence of Ara­bia, isn’t it?’ he puz­zled. And it is cer­tainly a weird tale of kilted im­mor­tals, mu­tu­ally as­sured de­cap­i­ta­tions, Sir Sean Con­nery as a swag­ger­ing Egyp­tian with a Span­ish name, a Scot­tish ac­cent and a dis­dain for hag­gis (‘sounds re­volt­ing’) and Christo­pher Lam­bert as a war­rior Scot from the Dor­dogne.

YET Clancy was a fab­u­lous leer­ing vil­lain and sport­ingly wore a kilt to his an­niver­sary screen­ing. Over morn­ing cof­fee he told me that he had to make his own way to the Scot­tish lo­ca­tions for High­lander in 1986, and ended up ar­riv­ing in Glas­gow alone on the last train into Cen­tral Sta­tion.

‘The Scots were very nice to me and helped me find a bed for the night,’ he rum­bled. ‘Partly be­cause I didn’t tell them I had come to town to be­head their great­est liv­ing ac­tor.’

Fes­ti­val ju­ror Kim Cat­trall has also proved adept at charm­ing Scot­land. At her In Per­son event, she talked about her ad­ven­tures in movies – from the 1980s rom­com Man­nequin to sur­viv­ing Ro­man Polan­ski.

And of course we talked about why she turned down Sex and the City three times, and shyly ad­mit­ted that she was cur­rently sin­gle – and happy to min­gle if there was a Scots­man bold enough to take her on. We could have gone on all night: much like her char­ac­ter Sa­man­tha in the se­ries.

The fes­ti­val ceilidh has be­come a par­tic­u­lar mid­way high­light, fu­elled by the lethal combo of Irn-Bru, whisky and Scot­tish coun­try danc­ing.

I ap­pear to have promised Kim Cat­trall a whisky tast­ing ex­pe­di­tion, and hugged the Ice­landic guy from Scandi noir se­ries Trapped like he was a favourite teddy.

I was also mas­sively mocked by ac­tress Jodie Whit­taker for ad­mit­ting that I buy mag­a­zines for the free make-up give­aways, and I even kissed the na­tional trea­sure that is ac­tor Jonathan Pryce.

So hurrah for Ed­in­burgh. De­spite bud­get cuts and the on­go­ing weird­ness of a film fes­ti­val that is forced to com­pete for at­ten­tion against in­ter­na­tional foot­ball tour­na­ments, tennis and Glas­ton­bury, there are still good times to be had when Hol­ly­wood comes to Holy­rood.

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