Film office for Edinburgh, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders
Page to Screen
Film office for Edinburgh, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders

Page to Screen

Edinburgh in August is a hotbed of activity, the city buzzing with the various festivals taking place and the 10th – 26th hosts the Edinburgh International Book Festival. In anticipation, we take a look at some of the novels which have been adapted for film and television in the Edinburgh city region.

Cloud Atlas
In 2012 The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer released the ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell’s acclaimed novel Cloud Atlas. A sci-fi epic that spans five centuries, the film explores how the actions of individuals can have consequences that echo through the past, present and future. Scenes starring Ben Whishaw and James D'Arcy were filmed in the capital, including a beautiful shot featuring the Scott Monument. Other key scenes include a dream sequence filmed at India Buildings, hotel shots of the City Chambers on the Royal Mile and an exciting chase down Victoria Terrace.

Hallam Foe
2007 British drama film directed by David Mackenzie based on the novel written by Peter Jinks in which Hallam Foe suspects his step mother is responsible for his mother's death. He leaves home and travels to Edinburgh where he falls for Kate, who bears a striking resemblance for his mother. The film, starring Jamie Bell and Sophia Myles, was shot on location in Edinburgh, including the Caledonian Hotel, Cockburn Street, City Art Centre and on an estate in the Innerleithen valley in the Scottish Borders.

The Da Vinci Code
The highly anticipated adaptation of the worldwide bestselling Dan Brown novel, The Da Vinci Code follows Professor Robert Langdon as he tries to unravel the mysteries of a chilling murder in Paris. Starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, this gripping film takes the audience on a quest around the world as Langdon uncovers some extraordinary secrets that shake the world of religion forever. A key scene in this movie is filmed at Rosslyn Chapel, which can be found just to the south of the city.

One Day
David Nicholls' best-selling novel was adapted by Lone Scherfig in the 2010 film starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. With large sections of the romantic drama novel set in Edinburgh, Arthurs Seat, Warriston Close, Moray Place, Parliament Square and Calton Hill featured as filming locations.

Under the Skin
Michel Faber’s debut novel, Under The Skin, was released in 2000 while the film adaption would be released in 2013. During that time acclaimed director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) spent over a decade developing his interpretation of the Whitbread Award nominated source material. Scarlett Johansson plays the mysterious woman who spends her evening hours driving the streets of Scotland looking for lonely men to seduce. The events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery. Filmed across the country, East Lothian hosted filming at Historic Environment Scotland’s Tantallon Castle near North Berwick.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
This 1969 adaptation of Muriel Spark's famous novel won a whole host of awards, including an Oscar for Maggie Smith, who won Best Actress for her role of Miss Brodie. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was primarily filmed at Edinburgh Academy on Henderson Row, but it also showcased lots of other Edinburgh locations including Greyfriars Churchyard, Dalmeny House and Barnbougle Castle.

In 1993 Irvine Welsh released his debut novel, Trainspotting. While the Edinburgh native’s book was successful upon release, it would be Danny Boyle’s film adaptation in 1996 that would bring both Trainspotting and Welsh to a worldwide audience. Despite being entirely set in 1980s Edinburgh the film was shot mainly in Glasgow. However, the now infamous opening sequence, 'Choose Life', was filmed on location in Princes Street, Calton Road and Hanover Street.

Ian Rankin’s hugely successful detective series began when Knots and Crosses was published in 1987 and has since seen the Edinburgh based police inspector appear in a total of twenty novels. In 2000 John Hannah took up the role of Rebus appearing in four episodes between then and 2004 which would be broadcast on STV. Season 2 saw a casting change with Edinburgh native Ken Stott stepping into Rebus’ shoes. Stott would appear in ten episodes across three series'. With a total of fourteen episodes shot in Edinburgh and East Lothian the list of exact locations featured are too large to list here. However you can find This is Edinburgh’s crime map which should shed some more light on the case.

The Secret Agent
Edinburgh doubled for the Victorian streets of London in this three-part BBC adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s classic novel. Toby Jones stars as Soho shopkeeper/Russian spy, Verloc on a mission to incite a terrorist attack on the Greenwich Observatory. Also featuring Vicky McClure and Stephen Graham, the production spent over five weeks in the Edinburgh city region in late 2015. Both Edinburgh's New Town and Old Town were transformed to Victorian London, with Thistle Street Lane completely transformed into Victorian Soho. Gosford and Hopetoun are also featured.

The Railway Man
Based on the best-selling memoir by Eric Lomax, tells the extraordinary true story a POW in World War 2, who discovers that the man who tortured him is still alive. Starring Academy Award-winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, and Jeremy Irvine, the film is a powerful tale of survival, love and redemption. Filming took place in North Berwick, Gilmerton House and Cockenzie House in East Lothian as well as Calton Hill in Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival runs from 10 – 26 August 2019 in Charlotte Square