The Two Faces of January: Location doubles
With credits including Argo and Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, Istanbul-based production company AZ Celtic Films have form when it comes to shooting in Turkey, offering filmmakers support services such as sourcing locations, local crew and equipment rental.
AZ Celtic’s latest film, 60s-set suspense thriller The Two Faces of January, marks their second collaboration with British production company Working Title Films and is currently winning plaudits from critics across the globe, not only for impressive performances by the cast (led by Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac) but also for its striking visuals.
Based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith, the film marks the directorial debut of screenwriter Hossein Amini (Drive) and centres on a glamorous couple (Mortensen, Dunst) who get embroiled in a misadventure in Athens, Greece, after meeting a scamming tour guide (Isaac).
Producers chose to shoot half of the movie in Istanbul, transforming several exterior and interior locations into perfect doubles for Greece in the 60s. With Turkey’s tax rebate and a mix of classic architecture, café culture and twenty-first century modernity, it’s clear to see why they chose the country.
Just some of the replicated locations used in the film include a race course to double up as Athens Airport; Istanbul University as an Athens hotel, and the bustling market of Grand Bazaar to match the look of a parade of 60s shops. “We were in there for four days (two days prep, two days for filming). It was closed for a religious holiday, enabling us to transform around 100 shops,” AZ Celtic Films’ Zeynep Santiroglu told us. Oscar Isaac said of the location: “[Grand Bazaar] was all quiet and silent. The movie wouldn't be half of what it is if we had not been able to shoot in these amazing locations."
Feast your eyes on some the Istanbul locations used in the film and what they doubled up as:
Balat, an old neighbourhood street (Athens flea market)
Racecourse (Athens airport)
Turkish Maritime building (Athens Customs hall)
Istanbul University (Athens hotel)
French Street (Plaka)
Grand Bazaar I
Grand Bazaar II
Istanbul transport museum boat and in another ship in Istanbul (boat scenes)
For further information about filming in Turkey, take a look out our production guide by clicking here.