Never mind flesh-eating zombies, what about our housing benefit?
The sign read: “Housing Benefit office this way.” In Glasgow life goes on even amid an invasion of the undead.
Yesterday, the patrons of the housing office on North Frederick Street were subject to the occasional delay, as the entrance was directly behind the military encampment set up in downtown Philadelphia to repel the rapacious demands of the flesh-eaters.
The latest day of filming of World War Z, the £120 million Hollywood movie, made for a surreal scene. Queuing on one side of a temporary steel fence was a motley crew of Glasgow citizens anxious to sort out their housing arrangements or benefit claims, while just past the crashed American Greyhound bus one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Brad Pitt, ran wild.
As the security guard explained: “I’ll let you through after the next bang.”
For most of the day, director Marc Forster – who also made Quantum of Solace and Monster’s Ball, directed a large crowd scene that followed on from the previous day’s car crash.
On Tuesday, George Square was the location for the crash, between a grey Volvo and an American ambulance. Yesterday’s scene involved Pitt’s character, Gerry Lane, a UN specialist who is attempting to establish the cause of a virus that has turned the population into marauding zombies, fleeing from the car crash.
In take after take, Pitt leapt out of the car, grabbed his daughter from the back seat and ran through a panicked mob. Amid the screams from the extras, there was a repeated burst of gunfire. And although flames appeared to leap from the muzzles of the soldier’s rifles, the actual blank shots were fired by the armoury, the crew members in charge of all replica arms, who were out of shot and wearing yellow earguards.
For Anne Queen, a retired play leader, the zombie apocalypse was an inconvenience she could have done without, especially after she finally got into the housing benefit office and discovered she had been directed to the wrong branch.
She did, however, concede that the film crew’s presence was good for Glasgow: “It’s great to see them here, I think everyone is enjoying themselves.”
For the McKay family, the filming was worth a day trip from Ayrshire. Watching the filming through the windows of the Greyhound bus, David McKay, 49, a publican said that the whole show was fantastic and that he looked forward to watching it on the big screen and recognising shots from the day of his visit.
Naomi McKay, 34, said that she had been impressed by Pitt and his wife Angelina Jolie. “It’s been nice to see them out and about with the kids.” However, Morgan McKay, aged three, was a little less star-struck. “We’ll be able to show it to her on DVD in years to come and say: ‘you were there,’ said her father.
But as the final take was shot and the crowd burst into applause, Morgan began to wimper: “Mummy, I want to go home.”