Highlands & Islands

Far flung: Strange places to find famous Scots in 2014

Scene from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Image copyright AP/warner bros
Image caption One Scots comic has been drawn into the troubled world of Middle Earth with its hobbits, dwarves and elves

In 2014's Year of Homecoming Scotland, well-known Scots will be popping up in places far, far from home.

Being held for the second time, the Homecoming celebration of all things Scottish seeks to encourage people from all over the world to come to Scotland.

They include Scots living abroad and North Americans, Australians and New Zealanders with Scottish ancestry.

But while they are being urged to visit Scotland, some well-known faces will be appearing in locations - brought to life in new big budget films - that are very different from home.

The fictional island of Berk

The island is home to Vikings and dragons in DreamWorks Animation's sequel, How To Train Your Dragon 2.

The films are an adaption of children's stories written by Cressida Cowell.

Image copyright Getty Images/AP
Image caption Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson

The author's tales are influenced by childhood holidays to an isle in the Inner Hebrides, but she declines to say which one, preferring to keep it a secret.

In the movies, leading characters Stoick the Vast and Gobber the Belch are voiced by actor Gerard Butler and comedian and US talk show host Craig Ferguson.

Butler grew up in Paisley and Ferguson in Cumbernauld.

Ferguson has form for appearing in animated worlds - he "visited" the Hundred Acre Wood when he voiced Owl in 2011's Winnie the Pooh.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 is due in cinemas in the summer.

Middle Earth

Glaswegian comedian Billy Connolly has a role in the third and final instalment of Peter Jackson's adaption of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit.

He will play warrior dwarf Dain Ironfoot.

Commenting on the casting of Connolly, Jackson said: "We could not think of a more fitting actor to play Dain Ironfoot, the staunchest and toughest of the dwarves, than the Big Yin himself.

Image copyright Getty Images/AP/BBC
Image caption Connolly, McTavish and Stott will appear in The Hobbit: There and Back Again

"With Billy stepping into this role the cast of The Hobbit is now complete."

In an interview with the BBC last year, Connolly said he had not read Tolkien's stories of Middle Earth and its resident hobbits, dwarves, elves, wizards and orcs.

Two Scots already well-versed in Jackson's imagining of the world, and playing heavily bearded dwarves, are Edinburgh's Ken Stott and Glasgow's Graham McTavish.

Stott as Balin and McTavish as Dwalin appeared in the first two Hobbits and will reprise the roles in the third.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again is scheduled to be released in December.

Deep space

Inverness' Karen Gillan is probably more prepared than most for life in extraordinary places.

As a former Doctor Who assistant she travelled through time and space and encountered aliens such as Daleks and Silurians.

Image caption Karen Gillan is no stranger to encounters with alien worlds

In Marvel's upcoming movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Gillan will play a ruthless space pirate called Nebula.

The film will see a motley crew of aliens battle to protect the galaxy in the 31st Century.

Last year, Gillan unveiled a new look for the movie when she pulled off a red wig to reveal a shaven head at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Other characters include Rocket, a talking raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper, and a humanoid tree creature called Groot played by Vin Diesel.

Guardians of the Galaxy is to be shown in the summer.

The future

Time travel will be a feature of Glaswegian James McAvoy's latest outing as scientist Charles Xavier in Marvel's X Men superhero franchise.

X Men: Days of Future Past involves McAvoy's Xavier receiving a warning from his future self via Wolverine, a character played by Hugh Jackman.

The feature is due to be released in May.

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