Quango snubbed Frankenstein director’s studio plan

Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy on the set of 'Victor Frankenstein
Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy on the set of 'Victor Frankenstein
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IT IS one of the most high-profile films to be made in Scotland in recent years, bringing James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe in front of the camera together for the first time.

Dunnottar Castle in Abedeenshire has a starring role in the new big-screen version of Victor Frankenstein. But a ­real-life horror story has emerged from the production over claims Scotland could have lost a major opportunity to secure a film studio on the back of the production.

Experts believe Scotland already lost out to Northern Ireland on securing the fantasy series Game of Thrones due to the lack of any studio facilities north of the Border. Major films set in Scotland including Under The Skin, Sunset Song and Filth have had to be shot extensively in England or overseas due to a shortage of space.

Now the man behind Victor Frankenstein has accused officials at the quango responsible for the film industry of squandering the chance to secure a Pinewood-style complex.

When Scottish director Paul McGuigan met with officials from arts quango Creative Scotland to discuss potential locations, he also revealed that the studio funding the film was prepared to bankroll its own Scottish studio.

Lanarkshire-born McGuigan told Creative Scotland that 20th Century Fox wanted to find a location for a studio, build it from scratch for Victor Frankenstein and then leave it intact for others to use.

In an interview with 
Scotland on Sunday, McGuigan claims the funding body failed to follow up the lead after warning him about the politics involved in the studio saga. His revelations will cause deep embarrassment for both Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government, which set up a film studio delivery group two and a half years ago.

McGuigan said of his meeting: “I said, ‘I’ve got a $40 million or thereabouts movie to make, and I want to bring it to Scotland – but obviously, you have no studios.

“So I want to find a space and build a studio, or at least start to build that infrastructure. The deal would be to leave it here for everyone so they can use it.

“I said, ‘What do you think?’ and they were like, ‘No, you don’t understand. It’s a very political situation. There’s people wanting to build a studio in Glasgow and people wanting to build in Edinburgh and it’s been going on for years.

“To be fair, it might not have worked out, but it wasn’t very creative of Creative Scotland.”

A spokeswoman for the quango said: “An informal meeting was held with Paul McGuigan and a member of our film team to discuss Victor Frankenstein. The member of staff stated that we would very much like to see this production in Scotland and an offer for the producers to get in touch to discuss the possibility of funding was made. No approach for funding was subsequently received, however our locations team worked with him on sourcing locations.”