Marvel films Avengers: Infinity War in Edinburgh

Marvel chose Edinburgh as a central filming location for key scenes in the major superhero movie Avengers: Infinity War.

Marvel chose Edinburgh as a central filming location for key scenes in the major superhero movie Avengers: Infinity War.

The film is the culmination of a decade of Marvel superhero stories and features characters from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe fighting a threat from Josh Brolin’s arch-villain Thanos.

Marvel films Avengers: Infinity War in Edinburgh
Avengers Infinity War

Most of the movie was filmed at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in the US state of Georgia, which has become a long-term production base for Marvel in recent years. Edinburgh became the film’s key non-studio location shoot for a single major night-time action sequence.

Scotland was chosen as a filming location because of its old-world beauty and charm,” says James Lin, the film’s supervising location manager, in comments to KFTV.

“It became an additional story point with the setting of the great cobblestone roads, narrow alleys and historical settings all around.”

Scouts started exploring much of Scotland a full year before filming, with Marvel executives seeking locations not previously seen by their international audiences.

“There were a lot of recces all over the country,” says Rosie Ellison, commissioner at Film Edinburgh, in comments to KFTV. “But they kept coming back to Edinburgh, as they fell in love with the city’s architecture and we’re well known for hosting major events like the Edinburgh International Festival and the Festival of Light.

“There were early talks about recreating one of these key cultural events for the movie and I think it was a big help to them that we said yes to everything – we could make anything work.”

Avengers Edinburgh crew

As Marvel zeroed in on Edinburgh, the studio even recced the city’s cultural offerings and restaurants, but as downtime offerings for their crews rather than as filming locations. Marvel wanted to find out ahead of time what their crews would be able to get up to for the several months that they would effectively be living in the city.

Crews eventually spent a full three months actively prepping in the city for a seven-week shoot, generating around £10m in spending for the capital and using ancillary services from dozens of local service providers ranging from window cleaners to building contractors and taxi providers (some of whom are pictured above).

Key areas of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in the city’s Old Town were eventually chosen by Marvel as primary filming locations, as well as parts of nearby railway station Edinburgh Waverley.

Avengers Infinity War

Ellison’s main concern was that local residents would be inconvenienced by the shoot. However, constant communication between the locations team – totalling at least 60 credited individuals for the entire shoot - and the local community proved a great success.

“The fact that Marvel was filming night shoots throughout was a help as it meant the locations were naturally less busy anyway,” says Ellison. “Some residents moved away for a few days during filming and others were excited to have a shoot on this scale right outside their windows.”

Jamie Lengyel was involved with Infinity War as a global locations consultant, having previously been supervising location manager on Avengers: Age of Ultron and Doctor Strange.

“A movie of this scale, filming a major night sequence, requires considerable infrastructure, street control and, above all, goodwill,” he tells KFTV.

Avengers Infinity War

“We were exceptionally supported by the city of Edinburgh and Creative Scotland. It was great to be able to use Edinburgh as Edinburgh, with minimal changes, [as a] testament to how visually special this location is.”

Scotland’s primary production challenge is that it lacks purpose-built studio facilities. This wasn’t a problem for Marvel as the Avengers scenes were always planned as a location shoot.

However, the absence of large-scale sound stages inevitably impacts Scotland’s international appeal, with studio availability often a key factor in deciding locations for a film on the scale of a Marvel movie.

“With the wealth of locations Scotland has to offer, there is no doubt that a major purpose-built studio would make Scotland an attractive base for studio movies,” says Lengyel.

There is movement on the issue. Wardpark Studios near Glasgow has been used for the past few years as an adapted production facility for the US drama series Outlander. In the last few months, the privately-funded Pentland Studios has had planning permission granted in principle for a site outside Edinburgh, which is on course to become available to filmmakers sometime in late 2019.

Backed by the UK’s generous filming incentive support, Scotland’s star is likely to continue to shine.

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in Scotland.

Avengers images: Disney/Marvel Studios. Crew shot: Film Edinburgh

Marvel films Avengers: Infinity War in Edinburgh
Avengers Infinity War

Marvel chose Edinburgh as a central filming location for key scenes in the major superhero movie Avengers: Infinity War.

The film is the culmination of a decade of Marvel superhero stories and features characters from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe fighting a threat from Josh Brolin’s arch-villain Thanos.

Most of the movie was filmed at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in the US state of Georgia, which has become a long-term production base for Marvel in recent years. Edinburgh became the film’s key non-studio location shoot for a single major night-time action sequence.

Scotland was chosen as a filming location because of its old-world beauty and charm,” says James Lin, the film’s supervising location manager, in comments to KFTV.

“It became an additional story point with the setting of the great cobblestone roads, narrow alleys and historical settings all around.”

Scouts started exploring much of Scotland a full year before filming, with Marvel executives seeking locations not previously seen by their international audiences.

“There were a lot of recces all over the country,” says Rosie Ellison, commissioner at Film Edinburgh, in comments to KFTV. “But they kept coming back to Edinburgh, as they fell in love with the city’s architecture and we’re well known for hosting major events like the Edinburgh International Festival and the Festival of Light.

“There were early talks about recreating one of these key cultural events for the movie and I think it was a big help to them that we said yes to everything – we could make anything work.”

Avengers Edinburgh crew

As Marvel zeroed in on Edinburgh, the studio even recced the city’s cultural offerings and restaurants, but as downtime offerings for their crews rather than as filming locations. Marvel wanted to find out ahead of time what their crews would be able to get up to for the several months that they would effectively be living in the city.

Crews eventually spent a full three months actively prepping in the city for a seven-week shoot, generating around £10m in spending for the capital and using ancillary services from dozens of local service providers ranging from window cleaners to building contractors and taxi providers (some of whom are pictured above).

Key areas of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in the city’s Old Town were eventually chosen by Marvel as primary filming locations, as well as parts of nearby railway station Edinburgh Waverley.

Avengers Infinity War

Ellison’s main concern was that local residents would be inconvenienced by the shoot. However, constant communication between the locations team – totalling at least 60 credited individuals for the entire shoot - and the local community proved a great success.

“The fact that Marvel was filming night shoots throughout was a help as it meant the locations were naturally less busy anyway,” says Ellison. “Some residents moved away for a few days during filming and others were excited to have a shoot on this scale right outside their windows.”

Jamie Lengyel was involved with Infinity War as a global locations consultant, having previously been supervising location manager on Avengers: Age of Ultron and Doctor Strange.

“A movie of this scale, filming a major night sequence, requires considerable infrastructure, street control and, above all, goodwill,” he tells KFTV.

Avengers Infinity War

“We were exceptionally supported by the city of Edinburgh and Creative Scotland. It was great to be able to use Edinburgh as Edinburgh, with minimal changes, [as a] testament to how visually special this location is.”

Scotland’s primary production challenge is that it lacks purpose-built studio facilities. This wasn’t a problem for Marvel as the Avengers scenes were always planned as a location shoot.

However, the absence of large-scale sound stages inevitably impacts Scotland’s international appeal, with studio availability often a key factor in deciding locations for a film on the scale of a Marvel movie.

“With the wealth of locations Scotland has to offer, there is no doubt that a major purpose-built studio would make Scotland an attractive base for studio movies,” says Lengyel.

There is movement on the issue. Wardpark Studios near Glasgow has been used for the past few years as an adapted production facility for the US drama series Outlander. In the last few months, the privately-funded Pentland Studios has had planning permission granted in principle for a site outside Edinburgh, which is on course to become available to filmmakers sometime in late 2019.

Backed by the UK’s generous filming incentive support, Scotland’s star is likely to continue to shine.

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in Scotland.

Avengers images: Disney/Marvel Studios. Crew shot: Film Edinburgh

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