Philly fury as Glasgow gets the film

YOU could call it World War P. The American city of Philadelphia and Glasgow are clashing over the filming of the Brad Pitt blockbuster World War Z.

Glasgow has been transformed to replicate Philadelphia by the film-makers, much to the annoyance of the American city’s natives. The Philadelphia Inquirer, the city’s newspaper, has accused Glasgow of “gloating” over bagging the shoot.

It also says Glasgow has added insult to injury by allowing the film to shoot in George Square. “Annoyingly, City Chambers are in a square named for King George III, the very despot Philadelphia led the [American] Revolution against,” it rages.

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The film was originally set in the Pennsylvanian city but the makers pulled out after a row over tax breaks. The UK became more economically viable and Glasgow was chosen as the city most easily converted into a passable imitation of Philly’s rolling streets.

Philadelphia-plated buses, taxis and police cars have been shipped in to create a traffic scene and US-style traffic lights and street signs have been installed. Cochrane Street has become John F Kennedy Boulevard, Ingram Street has become Market Street and George Square JFK Plaza.

Staff writer Barry Mucha complained: “They’re gloating a bit these days in Glasgow. They have Brad Pitt filming a movie there – and it’s supposedly set in Philadelphia.”

He adds: “So Glasgow has flesh-eating, virus-revived corpses and Angelina Jolie’s tallest adoptee.”

Another staff member at the Inquirer said: “There’s some hit to local pride to see some other city pretending to be our city. I think most people here aren’t aware this happened. When the movie comes out that’s when it will hit them.”

Meanwhile, the Philadephia Film Office, which has the job of attracting movies to the city, is bereft at the loss of hundreds of jobs for crews and extras and millions of dollars in revenues. Glasgow is estimated to be benefiting to the tune of £2 million from the fortnight-long shoot.

“I was devastated about this. We lost jobs that people were counting on,” said Film Office executive Sharon Pinkenson.

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: “Certainly there has been no gloating. We wouldn’t gloat. We are just delighted that such a huge production has chosen to film in Glasgow and feels the streets of Glasgow can replicate a US city. Of course that’s no surprise to us because of our grid system.”

Filming continued near Falkirk last night and will return to Glasgow after the weekend.