Avengers director: Edinburgh can attract string of blockbusters

THE Hollywood film director who brought the Avengers to Edinburgh has described the Capital as 'one of the more cinematic cities I've seen'.
Avengers assembleAvengers assemble
Avengers assemble

But Joe Russo warned that Scotland was missing out on major investment due to the lack of a top-class film studio.

Filming for the £400 million Avengers: Infinity War took place around the city during the spring, with the Royal Mile and Waverley Station amongst the main locations.

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Russo said he couldn’t reveal what brought the Avengers to Edinburgh or confirm how much screen time the Capital will have in the final cut – but explained why he wanted to shoot in the city.

Joe RussoJoe Russo
Joe Russo

He said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Edinburgh a few times and I just loved the city. I find it one of the more beautiful cities in Europe. It’s amazingly well-preserved, the architecture is stunning and we had an idea for a sequence that we thought would pair very well with the city.”

Russo – who co-directs the film with brother Anthony – said the Capital lived up to his expectation as a location and believes Edinburgh is well-placed to attract further major productions – but needs the facilities.

Controversial plans for a new studio in the Pentlands have Scottish Government backing and work could begin later this year.

“It [Edinburgh] provided a really gorgeous backdrop,” Russo told today’s Scotsman Magazine. “For a city as cinematic as Edinburgh, but one that hasn’t had a tonne of production in it, it was incredibly organised.

Joe RussoJoe Russo
Joe Russo

“The crew absolutely loved it. The town couldn’t have been friendlier and the look and the production value we got out of the city were top-notch.”

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He said a permanent studio would be “invaluable” for attracting future big-budget productions.

“Because of the UK tax rebate and because of the look you can achieve – which is difficult to find elsewhere: the geography is quite beautiful and quite complex and you can get a varied number of looks within a short travel distance – I think that Scotland is uniquely positioned to attract quite a large amount of work if they were to open soundstages.

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“In fact, we probably would have done a lot more work here in Scotland had there been facilities to support our stage work.”

The cast and crew spent around a month in Edinburgh – Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany and Scarlett Johansson were all spotted here – before spending a few days in the Scottish Borders town of St Abbs.

They then filmed at Durham Cathedral before returning to Atlanta to complete the movie.

And Russo said the Capital left a lasting impression as he named The Table, Panda & Sons and Hoot the Redeemer as some of his current favourite restaurants and bars in the world.

Filming was predicted to spark a £10 million boost for the Capital’s economy – more than is usually generated from a whole year’s worth of productions.

During the shoot, fans lined the streets of the Old Town during late-night filming, with many posting selfies of themselves with the stars on social media.