Black Watch writer to battle Scarlett Johansson at BAFTAs

Scarlett Johanssen, star of the Bafta-nominated Under the Skin. Picture: Getty
Scarlett Johanssen, star of the Bafta-nominated Under the Skin. Picture: Getty
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THE debut film from the writer of the hit play Black Watch will go head to head at the Baftas next month with the sci-fi drama that saw Scarlett Johansson’s alien femme fatale roam around Glasgow.

Fife-born Gregory Burke, whose play about Scottish squaddies serving in Iraq was taken around the world by the National Theatre of Scotland, is nominated in the outstanding debut category for his screenplay for the Belfast-set thriller ’71.


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Set at the height of the Troubles, the fast-moving drama about a young British soldier cut adrift from his colleagues – directed by Frenchman Yann Demange – will compete with Under the Skin in the best British film category.

Hollywood superstar Johansson was famously filmed in disguise walking around the bustling streets of Glasgow for the big-screen adaptation of Highland-based author Michel Faber’s best-selling novel Under the Skin.

Jonathan Glazer’s acclaimed film – which won a second nomination for Mica Levi’s chilling soundtrack – was shot entirely on location in Scotland for eight weeks, including at Port Glasgow, Glencoe, Tantallon Castle and Wishaw.

Also in the running are previous winners, Edinburgh film-makers Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson, who are nominated for best animated short – two years after they triumphed in the same category with The Making of Longbird.

Their latest film, Monkey Love Experiments, about “a misguided monkey who believes he is destined for the moon”, won a Bafta Scotland award in 

Jack O’Connell, the lead actor in both ’71 and prison drama Starred Up, which was the big winner at last year’s Bafta Scotland awards, is one of the contenders for the academy’s annual “rising star” honour.

Scotland’s hopes of Bafta glory are a major boost for the troubled film and television industry north of the Border, which has been dogged by claims of a mounting crisis due to a lack of productions being made, a shortage of studio facilities and a talent drain to rival locations like Northern Ireland, Sweden and Denmark.

Arts agency Creative Scotland, which has been under fire for a lack of support for the sector, funded Under the Skin, ’71 and Monkey Love Experiments.

This year’s film Baftas will be announced on 8 February.


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