Angus Council says hosting filming of actress Scarlett Johansson’s new movie is a ”tremendous showcase for the area”.
The local authority has welcomed the arrival of a crew shooting scenes for sci-fi film Under The Skin at Auchmithie harbour since Monday.
Plans for the feature have been in the pipeline for several months, with the council opting to spend £15,000 on upgrading a private access route to ensure Angus would be included.
Economic development spokesman David May said a Hollywood star in the village would provide a great boost for the area’s image.
He said: ”I am delighted that such a high-profile film is shooting some scenes in Angus. The atmospheric beauty of Auchmithie harbour will provide a great backdrop and hopefully encourage more visitors to the area, which would bring further economic benefits.”
He added: ”We are pleased to have been able to work on this with TayScreen, the partnership organisation of councils in the area which assists film and television companies to find suitable locations for filming.
”We have so many places of natural beauty and interest in Angus that we hope other film and programme production companies will also be encouraged to consider filming in the area.
”It has been a collaborative effort all round with the council repairing the road to give the film crew safe access to the harbour.”
The 300-yard private access route to the beach belongs to Angus Housing Association. Work to upgrade it consisted of excavation of the pavement, recycling, relaying and compacting the gravel material and installing new drainage.
Although many councillors were in favour of helping film producers Seventh Kingdom Productions, some have questioned why the decision to spend public money on a private road was taken behind closed doors.
The council says the matter had to remain confidential due to the requirements of the production team.
A spokesman said: ”We undertook the work to upgrade the private access road to provide the necessary safe access to the harbour for the film crew, the cost of the work being met from the existing economic development budget.
”The report was taken on green paper because of third-party confidentiality relating to the filming.”
The council opted to keep the profile of the movie under wraps until it began, despite several other locations being made public. Scenes have been shot at the Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow and at a petrol station in Lanarkshire for the film, which is set in Scotland.
Arbroath councillor Donald Morrison welcomed the crew and said it would help put Auchmithie on the map.
He said: ”The filming at Auchmithie will hopefully raise the area’s profile and show people what a beautiful coastline we have in Angus. Auchmithie is of course the birthplace of the smokie and it has been great to have an A-list actor visiting the village.”
Security has been tight since sex symbol Johansson arrived on Monday, sporting dyed brown hair. Gazebos and cameras have been set up along the shore and a crew have been filming from a boat anchored just off the beach.
Residents and the public have been excluded from the area, which has been set aside to film Under The Skin until today.
The film is directed by John Glazer, best known for the critically acclaimed Sexy Beast, starring Ray Winstone and Sir Ben Kingsley.