Streets of Philadelphia

See my photos from the World War Z set in Glasgow hereLast year I blogged a review of the excellent Max Brooks book World War Z. A documentary description of a fictitious future war against zombies, it was one of my favourite reads from last year and which, as I mentioned at the time, was to be turned into a film.

With part of the film set in Philadelphia, the search for somewhere that could play the part of that soft cheese-inspired American city began and, oddly, Glasgow was the winner. This is rather akin to the famous story of Charlie Chaplain once coming second in a Charlie Chaplain lookalike competition, though of course it also speaks of the financial incentives offered by Glasgow City Council.

I was in Glasgow for work from Wednesday until Sunday last week, and the event we were running was located just a short zombie shuffle from George Square, where the main centre of filming action was.

For many, the key draw was a chance to see the film’s star, Brad Pitt – though the closest any of our event’s participants got was a brief glimpse of one of his stunt doubles. For me, though, the appeal was the surreal and quite convincing way that Glasgow city centre was dressed up as an American city.

The attention to detail was impressive – everything from roadsigns and pedestrian crossings through to newspaper stands, cars and even tourist information signs. Such was Glasgow’s appeal with its grid system city centre and grand early twentieth century architecture that it was a good fit as an American city.

See my photos from the World War Z set in Glasgow hereOur event was regularly interrupted with the sounds of gunfire and screaming from outside (and yes, the jokes about how Glasgow normally is were done to death), and at one point we were barred from leaving our building while the street outside was used for filming.

I managed to get a few photos of the streets, although not sadly when any filming was taking place. Take a peek at them on Flickr.

My scepticism about the film, explained in my post last year, remains, but it will be fun to watch it in order to spot bits of Glasgow that I recognise, and to remember that I was just metres away when those parts were being filmed.

It is, apparently, out in late 2012. If the zombies don’t rise up and kill us all first.

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