The Edinburgh region is ready for its latest starring role this month when it will appear in Lionsgate’s latest production, Churchill, opening in UK cinemas on 16 June.
Set in the 96 hours ahead of the infamous D-Day landings in June 1944, Churchill follows Britain’s most iconic Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, as he battles his political enemies and personal demons before taking the final decision to launch the allied forces attack on Nazi-occupied Europe in Normandy.
Making the most of the region’s period and picturesque locations, Edinburgh and East Lothian double for London and Kent throughout the film. National Trust for Scotland property, the 17th century Palladian house, Newhailes in Musselburgh, stands in for Churchill’s family home, Chartwell. It’s also the backdrop of where actor Brian Cox delivers Churchill’s famous final broadcast to rally the troops for the D-Day landing.
Working closely with Film Edinburgh to source locations, this is the second time director Jonathan Teplitzky has chosen to film in the region, filming his 2013 acclaimed film, The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman on East Lothian’s coastline and on Calton Hill. In fact, Calton Hill also makes an appearance in Churchill, with the pillars of Scotland’s National Monument the setting for his meeting with General Eisenhower.
Other key locations include Cramond foreshore, Rutland Square and Yellowcraig Beach in East Lothian, a scene where Churchill remembers his disastrous command and mass slaughter of troops cut down on the beaches of Gallipoli in 1915 – a scenario he fears repeating with D-Day.
Filmed on location in the region for over four weeks in June 2016, along with a month additional preparation, the shoot took place during a busy time for the city, which was also a live film set for Danny Boyle’s T2 Trainspotting at the same time.
Paul Van Carter, Founding Partner of Salon Pictures, the production company behind Churchill, said: “It was terrific to be back filming in Edinburgh and East Lothian last summer. The diversity of locations, alongside availability of quality local crew in such close proximity to Edinburgh’s city centre made this the ideal base for our Scottish filming schedule.”
Rosie Ellison, Film Manager for Film Edinburgh, said: “There is a close working relationship between Film Edinburgh, East Lothian Council and City of Edinburgh Council to help facilitate productions of every scale. We were all thrilled to welcome back director Jonathan Teplitzky to the region for the filming of Churchill. The film is a terrific showcase of the diversity in locations the region has to offer.”
Councillor John McMillan, Cabinet Spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism at East Lothian Council, said: “Seeing East Lothian on the big screen is not only tremendously exciting, it also has a positive economic impact for local businesses and showcases East Lothian to a worldwide audience. We look forward to welcoming more production companies to East Lothian, as well as visitors who want to see for themselves what the county has to offer.”
Rhiannon Naismith, Property Manager for Newhailes, National Trust for Scotland, said: “Newhailes has a starring role in Churchill and looks fantastic. We hope that film-goers are inspired to visit in real life after seeing the house as an amazing backdrop to several scenes.”
Jenni Steele, Film and Cultural Tourism Manager at VisitScotland, said: “Edinburgh has featured in countless productions over the years and the capital’s appearance in Churchill further reinforces its cinematic aesthetics as well as its versatility. With set-jetting an increasing popular activity among visitors, we hope that cinema goers and movie fans will be inspired to explore the locations they see on screen while also immersing themselves in Edinburgh’s unique culture.”
Earlier this year, Film Edinburgh reported its most successful year for film in the Edinburgh city region on record, with 2016 film productions injecting £7.7 million into the local economy, an 11.5% rise on 2015 figures. Alongside Churchill, 321 productions filmed in the region in 2016 including T2 Trainspotting and popular dramas including Outlander and BBC Three’s hit Clique, currently screening on BBC1.
Alongside Brian Cox, Churchill stars Miranda Richardson, John Slattery, Ella Purnell.