Scottish Daily Mail

Joy of when Hollywood comes to Holyrood


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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