Grassmarket used as set for James Nesbitt's new 'Celtic horror film'
IT has resembled the scene from a horror movie more than once over the last year.
But for once it was not the city council's revamp of the area frightening Grassmarket traders.
Regulars at the Last Drop pub were in for a shock when they found actor James Nesbitt was shooting his new film there yesterday.
The star of Cold Feet and Murphy's Law is playing a killer in "Celtic horror film" Outcast. The crew are filming scenes throughout Edinburgh over the next fortnight.
City-based producer Eddie Dick has described it as combining Celtic mythology with gritty realism, and as well as the city centre scenes, much of it will be filmed on housing estates in Muirhouse, Niddrie and Sighthill.
The idea was conceived by Edinburgh-born writer and director Colm McCarthy, who has previously worked on Footballers' Wives and Spooks. He based it partly on his childhood growing up in Craigmillar and persuaded Nesbitt to take the lead role after the pair worked together on Murphy's Law.
The film, a Scottish-Irish co-production, is set to be released in cinemas later this year or early in 2010.
Nesbitt, 44, said he was delighted to return to the city, where he shot the 1996 film Jude.
He said: "I love Edinburgh and it's great to be back. We'll just be here for another couple of weeks. The people are very friendly, the sun is shining and it's St Patrick's Day, so it couldn't be better."
His co-star is the Scottish actress Katie Dickie, who starred in the award-winning film Red Road. She plays Mary, one of the Sidh, an ancient race with magical powers. After her relationship with Nebitt's character Cathal, she flees Ireland with her teenage son, Fergal, played by Niall Bruton. The pair take refuge on an Edinburgh housing estate.
They try to keep their distance from humans, but Fergal becomes attracted to their teenage neighbour, played by young Penicuik actress Hanna Stanbridge.
Mr Dick said: "The story really emerged from Colm's memories of living in Craigmillar.
"It fits very firmly into the horror genre. The thing that gives it its edge is its realistic, urban feel. It's based on the real lives of people on housing schemes in Edinburgh. What we've thrown into the mix is Celtic mythology.
"It was fantastic to be able to get James. He's a very well-loved and well-known actor in the UK.
"We've found most of the young actors in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Our young star Hanna is a very promising actress."
Shooting has already taken place in Dalkeith, Midlothian, and other scenes are set in Stockbridge and the city centre. The cast and crew will then be filming for two weeks in Galway, Ireland.
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