Acclaimed Scottish film maker Tommy Gormley, the first assistant director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has spoken publicly of his desire to see a dedicated film studio established in Scotland, and how one day such a studio could play host to Star Wars 8, 9 or 10. Gormley began his career in Scotland working with Ken Loach, and his own father the highly celebrated Scot’s director Charlie Gormley of ‘Down Among the Big Boys’ and ‘Heavenly Pursuits’ fame.
Gormley would subsequently go on to work with Tom Cruise and JJ Abrams on Mission Impossible 3, and on every Abrams film since. That impressive list including MI4, Super 8, Star Trek and the upcoming The Force Awakens.
Gormley, as one of the most respected film-makers in the industry, will hope his desires carry some political weight.
Gormley whom is in his native Scotland this week to give a lecture at the University of the West of Scotland, Ayr campus on film making – also picked up the BAFTA Scotland award for Outstanding Contribution to Craft at the weekend.
Speaking to the media ahead of his visit to the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), Gormley was passionate about the skills in Scotland, “Scotland is full of talented individuals and is blessed with being one of the most visually stunning countries in the world. It has incredible culture, varied architecture and spectacular scenery, making it an ideal filming location.
“Alan Cumming, Mark Millar, Brian Cox, Sean Connery, Billy Connolly, Lynne Ramsay and Ewan McGregor are some fine examples of Scottish talent behind and in front of the camera who have dominated Hollywood in recent years – and that’s without a dedicated film studio.
“More and more, the larger studios are looking away from Hollywood and Scotland is ideally placed to take advantage of this, with the correct investment. There is huge potential here, but other similar sized nations already have studio facilities so it’s important that action is taken now to seize these opportunities.”
Gormley has continued the press gauntlet, and appeared on the BBC Scotland radio breakfast show this morning to promote his call for a Scottish studio.
Asked directly as to whether he could see a Star Wars Episode 8, 9 or 10 filmed in Scotland. Gormley responded with a straight “absolutely” before highlighting the benefits of the current government tax breaks to the industry make the UK a hot bed for current film production, and acknowledging that London studios are fully booked. Gormley explained that studios are beginning to look out-with the UK capital.
You can listen yourself to the short interview with the BBC’s Hayley Millar here on the BBC Radio Player from the 2hrs 44 minute point.
Gornley joins a growing list of high profile film makers calling for the Scottish government to invest in a film studio for Scotland.
Earlier this year I spoke with Oscar winning Roger Christian, the Art Director of Star Wars: A New Hope whom filmed the short film Black Angel, which accompanied The Empire Strikes Back to cinema in much of Europe, in Scotland. The short that became available for the first time this year on itunes is a film that Christian has long stated his desire to turn into a fully fledged feature, and to see it shot in Scotland. Perhaps even more so having toured Scotland with Black Angel in the spring when I spoke with him for Episode 5 of Radio 1138.