Scottish location filming for Outlaw King

Netflix movie Outlaw King filmed on location in Scotland to tell the story of medieval Scottish king Robert the Bruce, who fought against English occupation in the 14th century.

Netflix movie Outlaw King filmed on location in Scotland to tell the story of medieval Scottish king Robert the Bruce, who fought against English occupation in the 14th century.

Directed by David Mackenzie and starring Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce, the production filmed in nearly 50 different locations across a 65-day shoot and was specifically scheduled to shoot at a time of year when Scotland would look at its best.

Scottish location filming for Outlaw King
Outlaw King

“The plan was always to keep the locations true to the story as much as possible,” says Matt Jones, the film’s supervising location manager, in comments to KFTV.

A big challenge was that Scotland, and indeed the UK as a whole, has a limited selection of medieval architecture that has suitably survived the passage of time and that is accessible for filming.

Screen stories set in the era are more often shot in Eastern Europe, where intact castles and fortresses are readily available.

Stirling Castle was one example of a particular location challenge. Situated 40 miles west of Edinburgh, the 12th century location is a key setting in the story of Robert the Bruce and the broader history of Scotland. However, it is not a suitable filming location so Mackenzie’s team built their own set nearby.

“In many cases the team built set extensions to existing historic locations and complemented these builds with visual effects,” Jones explains.

Primary filming locations for the movie included Linlithgow Palace and Craigmillar Castle in Edinburgh, Dunfermline Abbey across the Forth River in Fife and Glasgow Cathedral. More rural locations included Tullibardine Chapel, Borthwick Castle and Doune Castle.

Outlaw King

Mackenzie’s team had to make concessions to practicality with some of the key locations including for the film’s climactic Battle of Loudon Hill, a recreation of an event from 1307.

The real location is a rural spot found a relatively remote 35 miles south of Glasgow but the team instead built the setting at Mugdock Park just north of the city. Here they had access to similar topography and they could build ‘bog’ features that were safe for performers and horses alike.

Location filming shifted south of the modern-day border briefly for scenes set in Berwick-upon-Tweed. The town has been the northernmost in England since the early 1700s, but during the specific time-frame of Outlaw King was in fact part of Scotland.

“The film was shot almost entirely on location, except for just a few days using interiors at Pyramids Business Park, basically for weather cover,” Jones tells KFTV of the overall shoot.

Outlaw King

Pyramids offers one 64,000-sq-ft sound stage midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and has previously hosted scenes for Danny Boyle’s film T2: Trainspotting.

Jones is clear that production crews make adapted warehouse spaces work, not just for shoots in Scotland but also elsewhere in the UK. However, he supports the idea of a purpose-built studio facility that is currently lacking in Scotland.

“Pyramids worked fine for Outlaw King for the few days we were there – it has a waterproof, high-ceilinged warehouse that suited our needs. But you can’t beat the feel of a purpose-built facility.”

Industry pressure for a purpose-built studio in Scotland has been steady for the past few years. The government has stressed its support for the idea in principle, but has so far been hesitant to commit to a solid plan that makes any use of public money.

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

Images: Netflix/David Eustace

Scottish location filming for Outlaw King
Outlaw King

Netflix movie Outlaw King filmed on location in Scotland to tell the story of medieval Scottish king Robert the Bruce, who fought against English occupation in the 14th century.

Directed by David Mackenzie and starring Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce, the production filmed in nearly 50 different locations across a 65-day shoot and was specifically scheduled to shoot at a time of year when Scotland would look at its best.

“The plan was always to keep the locations true to the story as much as possible,” says Matt Jones, the film’s supervising location manager, in comments to KFTV.

A big challenge was that Scotland, and indeed the UK as a whole, has a limited selection of medieval architecture that has suitably survived the passage of time and that is accessible for filming.

Screen stories set in the era are more often shot in Eastern Europe, where intact castles and fortresses are readily available.

Stirling Castle was one example of a particular location challenge. Situated 40 miles west of Edinburgh, the 12th century location is a key setting in the story of Robert the Bruce and the broader history of Scotland. However, it is not a suitable filming location so Mackenzie’s team built their own set nearby.

“In many cases the team built set extensions to existing historic locations and complemented these builds with visual effects,” Jones explains.

Primary filming locations for the movie included Linlithgow Palace and Craigmillar Castle in Edinburgh, Dunfermline Abbey across the Forth River in Fife and Glasgow Cathedral. More rural locations included Tullibardine Chapel, Borthwick Castle and Doune Castle.

Outlaw King

Mackenzie’s team had to make concessions to practicality with some of the key locations including for the film’s climactic Battle of Loudon Hill, a recreation of an event from 1307.

The real location is a rural spot found a relatively remote 35 miles south of Glasgow but the team instead built the setting at Mugdock Park just north of the city. Here they had access to similar topography and they could build ‘bog’ features that were safe for performers and horses alike.

Location filming shifted south of the modern-day border briefly for scenes set in Berwick-upon-Tweed. The town has been the northernmost in England since the early 1700s, but during the specific time-frame of Outlaw King was in fact part of Scotland.

“The film was shot almost entirely on location, except for just a few days using interiors at Pyramids Business Park, basically for weather cover,” Jones tells KFTV of the overall shoot.

Outlaw King

Pyramids offers one 64,000-sq-ft sound stage midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and has previously hosted scenes for Danny Boyle’s film T2: Trainspotting.

Jones is clear that production crews make adapted warehouse spaces work, not just for shoots in Scotland but also elsewhere in the UK. However, he supports the idea of a purpose-built studio facility that is currently lacking in Scotland.

“Pyramids worked fine for Outlaw King for the few days we were there – it has a waterproof, high-ceilinged warehouse that suited our needs. But you can’t beat the feel of a purpose-built facility.”

Industry pressure for a purpose-built studio in Scotland has been steady for the past few years. The government has stressed its support for the idea in principle, but has so far been hesitant to commit to a solid plan that makes any use of public money.

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

Images: Netflix/David Eustace

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