Braveheart star James Cosmo has spoken of the “magical quality” of films shot in his homeland as Scotland’s tourist board launches its new guide to big screen locations.
The actor, who has also starred in Trainspotting and Game Of Thrones, has penned the foreword to VisitScotland’s revamped guidebook Set In Scotland.
The 52-page guide takes visitors through the more than 150 films which have been shot entirely or partly in Scotland, and details 100 film locations. It includes locations for Braveheart, Harry Potter, Skyfall and the Fast And Furious saga.
To mark the launch, Cosmo visited Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, which has appeared in several film and television productions including Outlander, Cloud Atlas and The Railway Man.
Speaking by the tracks, which are home to steam and heritage trains, the actor said: “A lot of my career, especially my earlier career, was based in Scotland.
“It’s such a wonderful country to make movies in, and it’s only getting better.
“I was astonished when I looked at the brochure Visit Scotland has produced; the number of films we have made here is quite extraordinary, and it doesn’t seem to be diminishing, we’re making more and more.
“People are becoming more aware that Scotland is a fantastic place to make movies; we have the most magnificent countryside, such different urban landscapes, wonderful technicians, great directors, actors, craftsmen, it’s all there waiting to be used.”
Clydebank-born Cosmo, whose film career has spanned six decades, said his connection with his home country runs deep, adding: “I am very proud of the way Scotland has developed its film industry and the number of terrific actors and directors.”
He gave a mention to Outlaw King director David Mackenzie, and spoke about Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting films having “an extraordinary effect on the world of filmmaking which I am so proud to be part of”.
Part of his foreword in the new brochure reads: “People still come up to me while in Scotland and tell me they are here because they watched Scottish films such as Braveheart or Highlander.
“What is wonderful is that the films are only the starting point.
“They then form a strong connection with the real country – it may be because of their ancestors or the feeling they got while they’re here. That stays with them.”
VisitScotland said screen tourism is a global trend in which film and television fans are inspired to visit a location after seeing it on screen.
The tourism body said the trend is long term, with many visitors citing film titles released long before their trip as motivation, and it said the trend can provide ongoing financial support for regions and businesses linked to popular locations.
Jenni Steele, film and creative industries manager at VisitScotland, said: “Some of the world’s biggest film franchises have chosen to come to our shores in recent years, from Batman to Avengers.
“This not only boosts the local economy in the short term, which is particularly important for the recovery of tourism, but can provide an ongoing presence in popular culture – and streaming services – that can continue to reach new audiences and lead to visits long after a film’s release.”
The tourism organisation said it hoped its new look guide, which boasts more featured productions than the previous one, will offer further inspiration to visitors.