Back in 2011, I was working in a big old building at the corner of George Square in Glasgow.
We’d been told that the Square and surrounding would be closed to the public for a while due to some filming, but we’d still get access to work if we showed our passes.
When the time came, George Square began to change into Philadelphia. The movie being filmed was World War Z, starring Brad Pitt. While it was based in the US, it was cheaper to film here than across the pond.
Street signs and traffic lights were changed. Road markings were repainted. The streets were lined with American cars and hydrants. Then the filming started.
To say it was bizarre to look out of your window when you’re working to see Hollywood filming a zombie movie is an understatement. Right outside our office, there were hundreds of extras. Some were dressed as soldiers with military vehicles, some civilians, and some police.
Shots were fired, mayhem crowd scenes were filmed, and Brad Pitt turned up. He was easy to spot, constantly surrounded by various folk. I saw him close up a couple of times, but couldn’t really concentrate with my female co-workers screaming in my ears.
As cool as it was to see Mr Pitt close up, the best was yet to come. Car crashes were repeatedly filmed, making a hell of a racket and a mess. Watching the stunts on the big screen is cool, but nothing compared to watching it happen in front of your eyes!
The surreal events continued when I had to take a short cut down a lane and found a number of bodies (fake) all along the floor. Both zombies and humans!
All of the filming that took place in Glasgow is shown in the first ten minutes or so of World War Z. I grin whenever I think that I’m in the building next to Brad Pitt as he’s being chased by zombies. It’s not something you can say every day!
The building I’m in now, which is over the road from the other building, has also recently been used for some scenes in time-travelling nude-fest Outlander. It is, undoubtedly, a beautiful building.