Apollo
Rakewell

Glasgow gets dolled up for the movies

6 August 2021

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

The centre of Glasgow has largely been shut to traffic for much of the last month, to make way for the fifth Indiana Jones flick and for the latest Batman movie – with Robert Pattinson making his debut as the caped crusader. But that hasn’t stopped Weegies flocking to the middle of town in their droves, hoping for a glimpse of celebrity.

By chance rather than design, your correspondent was among them, arriving in central Glasgow last week just in time to see Batman (or more likely, his stunt double) steaming along on a motorbike, a convoy of NYPD cars giving chase. It gives Rakewell no pleasure whatsoever to report that, pre-post-production, a fully-grown man in a superhero costume looks very much like… well, a fully-grown man in a superhero costume.

Then again, bathos seems to be part of the fun for hero-spotters. A couple of weeks earlier, with the city decked out as Philadelphia in honour of Harrison Ford, the local press united in its joy at the sight of the 267 bus to Blantyre crawling past the film set.

All this is nothing new. Glasgow has been put in American costume many times in recent years, most memorably as San Francisco in Cloud Atlas (2012) and Philadelphia in Brad Pitt’s zombie thriller World War Z (2013). The council clearly knows it’s on to a good thing, having raised some £350m in the last two decades through film productions, cannily capitalising on the cut-and-paste resemblance of Glasgow’s 18th-century gridiron street pattern to many US cities.

This time, though, Rakewell has been glad to see part of the shoot for The Batman take place at an unmistakeable – and undisguisable – Glasgow landmark. Last year, the crew was spotted at the 19th-century Necropolis beside Glasgow Cathedral, the eerily gothic ‘city of the dead’ an apt amenity for Gotham City.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.

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