Page last updated at 01:22 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Fassbender, Tatum and Kurylenko films help in recession

Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender is one of the stars of Centurion

Feature films set in Roman Britain and shot at locations in the Highlands helped local businesses through the recession, a film commission has said.

Centurion and The Eagle of the Ninth were filmed in 2009.

Indian art house thriller Three: Love, Lies, Betrayal was also shot last year in Inverness and around Loch Ness.

Trish Shorthouse, of the Scottish Highlands and Islands Film Commission, said hotels and bed and breakfasts benefited from spending by film crews.

She said the search for accommodation in and around Ullapool for more than 140 crew members on The Eagle of the Ninth saw some people renting out their homes.

Spending in the local area ran to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Centurion brought a touch of film glamour - and cash - to the Cairngorms while a hotel in Inverness and another near Loch Ness benefited from the crew filming Three: Love, Lies, Betrayal - previously known as Purple Lake.

One day there was a complaint to Highland Council that a foreign film crew was vandalising flowers on the Ness Islands
Trish Shorthouse

The Scottish Highlands and Islands Film Commission assists crews in finding locations.

Ms Shorthouse said: "Despite the recession we are actually quite steady and our inquiry levels are way up."

She said the value of the pound during the downturn had made the UK and Scotland attractive to foreign film companies.

Further work is hoped for after Highland scenes appear in cinemas across the world.

Three: Love, Lies, Betrayal is already showing in India.

Scenes previously shot in Glen Affric and Glen Nevis should also continue to be a feature of the next two Harry Potter films - starting with this November's release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.

Blue skies

Kevin Macdonald, who directed Last King of Scotland, filmed scenes for The Eagle of the Ninth on barren hillsides near Ullapool.

Men aged between 20 and 40 - and willing to have their heads shaved - were invited to a casting of extras at the Spectrum Centre in Inverness.

The film charts an officer's journey into Scotland to recover a lost legion. Starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell, it is due for release this autumn.

Centurion - which tells of lost legionaries on the run from Picts - is due for release next March.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Gallows Part I
Harry Potter films feature scenes shot in the Highlands

It stars Michael Fassbender, who recently appeared in the film Inglorious, and former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko.

Actor Noel Clarke, who has appeared in Doctor Who, got the early stages of frostbite while filming during freezing temperatures.

Meanwhile, Ms Shorthouse said it was hoped to secure a screening of Three: Love, Lies, Betrayal in Inverness.

The Indian crew were fantastic to work with, she said.

Director Vishal Pandya had headed for Scotland in search of atmospheric grey skies - but arrived amid a spell of sunshine and blue skies.

Ms Shorthouse said: "They filmed in Inverness, on the Ness Islands and along Loch Ness and in Fort Augustus.

"Inverness Castle was used as a police station while Inverness town house was a smart town lawyer's property.

"One day there was a complaint to Highland Council that a foreign film crew was vandalising flowers on the Ness Islands.

"I went down and found that they had picked some daffodils to help create a Hindu shrine to bless the location.

"There was no vandalism of the flower beds and the crew offered to replace the bulbs of the few daffodils they had picked. They are wonderful people to work with."

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