THEY have been one of Scotland’s most popular bands for more than three decades.
Now the iconic music of The Waterboys is to inspire a new feature film - which is being made in the home city of enigmatic frontman Mike Scott.
Cameras have started rolling in Edinburgh on Waterboys, a road-trip comedy following a father and son from Amsterdam to Scotland, where the band happen to be performing a homecoming gig.
The film is being written and directed by a Dutch filmmaker, a self-confessed die-hard Waterboys fan, who developed an interest in filming in Edinburgh after reading Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels.
The cast - who include ex-Emmerdale star Tom Mannion and Miles Jupp, the former stand-up who went on to find fame in Balamory and The Thick Of It - will be performing the script in both English and Dutch.
The music and lyrics of the Waterboys are said to be play a key role in the two central characters - crime novelist Victor Brouwer, who becomes obsessed with securing tickets for the Waterboys concert and his musician son Zack - forming a closer bond during a whistle-stop visit to the city.
Dozens of extras were at the King’s Theatre yesterday for the filming of climactic scenes at the Waterboys concert - although there was no sign of the band themselves, who are headlining this weekend’s Wickerman festival in Dumfries and Galloway.
They agreed to stage two intimate concerts last autumn at the Paradiso venue in Amsterdam to accommodate director Robert Jan Westdijk and his crew, after he wrote to Scott to ask for his backing for the £300,000 project. The director paid a number of visits to Edinburgh to help shape his script, which charts events after Victor visits to launch an latest English translation of his new “Inspector Bloemberg” book.
Waterboys is being filmed in Edinburgh, as well as in Lochaber, in the West Highlands, two years after the release of “Proclaimers musical” Sunshine on Leith, which was also shot around the city. Production has started just weeks before the Celtic rockers perform their biggest ever show in the city, in Princes Street Gardens, during the last weekend of the Fringe.
Mr Westdijk said: “My wife and I had read practically all the Inspector Rebus books. We really wanted to go to Edinburgh on holiday, but never got around to it. When I came up with the story of the father and son, and the dynamic between them, I decided to send them to Edinburgh, which I felt I knew without ever having been.
“It was only later that I discovered Mike Scott was originally from Edinburgh, which added a real extra dimension. I had been a fan since the mid-1980s but lost track of them for a while. I went to see them in concert for the first time in 2012 and it completely blew me away.
“For us in Holland, Edinburgh is very exotic, in a way. The film is a comedy, but the surroundings in Edinburgh will give it an extra mood of melancholy, as will the music.”
Producer Maarten van der Ven added: “The story is really about the road trip undertaken by the father and his son. The music of the Waterboys has a magic element which brings their relationship together and helps them see where they are at a certain moment in time.”
Jenni Steele, film marketing manager at VisitScotland, said: “We hope that Waterboys, and its soundtrack, will encourage potential Dutch visitors to follow in the stars’ footsteps and enjoy a holiday in Scotland. We’re in discussions with the producers about possible promotions to tie in with the film and hope it’s a great success.”
Rosie Ellison, film manager at the Film Edinburgh agency, said: “Our work with VenFilm, helping them to source suitable locations, crew and facilities, has been a great example of our city’s capacity as a film location. Feature films like this bring Edinburgh the kind of international promotion money simply just can’t buy.”