Highlands & Islands

Scarlett Johansson film Under the Skin heads north

Scarlett Johansson
Image caption Scarlett Johansson has already filmed scenes elsewhere in Scotland

Scenes for a new film starring Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson are set to be shot at locations in the Highlands, BBC Scotland understands.

Under the Skin is based on a novel of the same name by Michel Faber, who lives in the Black Isle.

The book tells of an alien, Johansson's character in the film, who picks up hitchhikers on the A9 road in the Highlands to harvest body parts.

Filming will take place on the A82 in Glencoe on Wednesday and Thursday.

However, BBC News Scotland website understands that scenes could be shot in further Highland locations.

Johansson has already filmed scenes in other parts of Scotland.

The actress is expected to be in the Highlands for the planned new filming.

Under the Skin was to be shot in Canada.

A Transport Scotland said the A82 south of Loch Ba would be closed for 10 minute periods on Wednesday and Thursday.

A spokeswoman said: "Following discussions with the filming company Saltfilm, our operating company Scotland Transerv and the police, we have granted an order giving permission to carry out filming for the film Under the Skin on the A82.

"The Scottish government welcomes the continued interest in Scotland as a filming location and we are confident that any disruption to drivers will be minimal."

Dutch-born author Faber had insisted the movie adaption of his book also be set in the Highlands, according to a Press and Journal report in June.

Another of his novels, The Crimson Petal and the White, was adapted by the BBC for a series screened on BBC Two earlier this year.

Johansson's previous films include Iron Man 2 and The Prestige.

She will also appear in next year's The Avengers which sees comic book superheroes such as Thor and Captain America brought together to save the world.

Under the Skin is the latest major feature to head for the Highlands.

Image caption Scenes for the new Batman film starring Tom Hardy were shot in the Highlands

Earlier this year, stuntmen and a film crew made parachute jumps at an airstrip in the Cairngorms as part of the production of the latest Batman film.

Parachutists dressed in black and using a private jet, which was painted black, shot scenes at Cairngorm Gliding Club's site at Feshie Bridge.

A former US military C130 Hercules transport aircraft also flew in and out of Inverness Airport for scenes.

The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy.

Carrbridge-based young film-maker Fergus Thom said the landscape of the Highlands was a major draw for productions seeking striking locations.

He said: "It's incredibly exciting to see so many large-scale feature film productions coming and shooting in the Highlands.

"The region is packed with incredible locations that really do bring the big screen to life and this has obviously been noticed - something which can only bode well for more films being made here in the future and the continued economic benefits of this."

'A buzz'

Organisers of the Inverness Film Festival, which starts on Wednesday, have also welcomed the latest production to come north.

A spokesman said: "Scottish film is in a very good place just now, and festivals like the Inverness Film Festival do great work in promoting the strength of the industry."

Andrew Doig, of the Loch Ness Film Festival, added: I think it is exciting in terms of filming in the Highlands, as there was a buzz last year with a Lonely Place To Die.

"We knew a load of extras used for that film and there was a buzz about the new batman Filming at Inverness Airport and on the A9.

"It would be great to see even more films filmed up in the Highlands because if you get the weather right you won't get a better location for filming and it would be even better if the government, or somebody, invested in a film studio up in the Highlands and with more tax breaks get even more films made up here."

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