Iceland’s magnetic landscapes have been drawing in more than just tourists; big name Hollywood directors are starting to notice the country’s awesome potential as a filming location.
It’s not all about Ben Stiller’s film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty anymore – Iceland is popping up in more movies than ever before. Hollywood directors have finally realised the potential of the desolate landscapes around the country for beautiful and unique backdrops. With big names like Justice League and of course Game of Thrones hogging the spotlight, here are 5 movies you might not have known were filmed in the land of fire and ice.
Russel Crowe and Emma Watson star in this biblical drama, retelling the fabled tale of Noah’s Ark. Iceland lands a starring role in the film, with shooting locations all over the country making it into the final cut of the movie, representing the world before the flood. The natural beauty of Reynisfjara black sand beach makes it into the movie, a popular shooting location for many movies and TV shows, including HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Reynisfjara Beach is one of the most popular shooting locations in Iceland.
In what was one of the largest and most expensive movie shoots in Icelandic history, blistering scenes for the action-packed film Fast and Furious 8 were shot in a few various locations around the country. The giant franchise imported all kinds of nice cars as well as old Russian jeeps for scenes shot on Lake Myvatn, in Iceland’s north east. The town of Akranes also played an integral part in the shoot, the crew using an abandoned cement factory in some scenes as well. Fun fact: the small movie theatre in the town was also treated to the world premiere of the film, screening it a couple of hours before Reykjavik and the rest of Europe.
Photo: Travelade/James Taylor
Any movies that have anything to do with space, and other worlds, will inevitably be drawn to Iceland. The landscapes across the country do make you feel as if you’ve travelled to a different planet; and that’s exactly what the producers of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story wanted you to think. Reynisfjara and the other black sand beaches around the south coast once again make it into the spotlight, starring as the setting for the planet Lah’Mu in the film, where designer of the Death Star, Galen Marek, lives with his family. The Force Awakens also used shots of the enormous Vatnajökull for scenes taking place at the Starkiller Base.
Tom Cruise stars in this post-apocalyptic drama, with the desolate and isolated locations around Iceland serving as the perfect backdrop to a world that has been ravaged but is slowly starting the healing process. The Hrossaborg crater in the north of the country acts as a destroyed stadium in the film (after some work done in post-production), and the crew also imported a replica telescope from the Empire State building in New York and set it up in the highlands of the country. The deserted and windswept highlands make the perfect setting for any post-apocalyptic scenes.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in this political thriller detailing the birth of the whistleblowing website. Scenes in the movie take place in Reykjavik, where the website was initially launched by Assange and others. No matter your take on the movie, Wikileaks, and Julian Assange, it casts Reykjavik in a new light to know that Wikileaks first found its footing on the international stage from the quiet streets of Iceland’s capital.