Scarlett Johansson in Scotland to film Under the Skin

Scarlett Johansson films Under the Skin in Scotland

Jonathan Glazer directs Michel Faber adaptation set for 2012 release

Scotland has seen more than its fair share of Hollywood action of late, with Brad Pitt-starring zombie film World War Z filming in Glasgow recently, but this time it’s the Highlands' turn with the arrival of Scarlett Johansson for the shoot of upcoming film Under the Skin.

It may come as no surprise that the character played by the Hollywood beauty has been described by the film’s production company, FilmNation, as being one of ‘voracious sexuality’. But try fitting this with the gist of the plot, which largely involves Johansson driving up and down the A9 between Inverness and Dunkeld in a battered Toyota Corolla, on the hunt for unsuspecting hitchhikers, and you begin to wonder where this story is going. That’s because Under the Skin features one massive, and thought-provoking twist, which - if we were to reveal it – would be sure to ruin the entire film.

Unless of course you have already read the original novel by author of The Crimson Petal and the White, Michel Faber, from which the film has been adapted, in which case all of this will make perfect sense. Fans of the original work will no doubt also be anxious to see if Johansson’s addition of prowess to the novel’s protagonist Isserley, won’t outshine some of the more subtle beauties within the book. Somewhere amidst the hills, hitchers and apparent sexual predatory, Isserley’s isolated existence on the road has that certain escapist appeal once inspired by the American road novels of Kerouac and Paul Auster.

The List would certainly recommend the book, having featured it as part of our 100 Best Scottish Best Books of all Time. We'll have to wait until the release of the film, scheduled for 2012, to know whether or not the adaptation can live up to its title, and prove to be more than skin deep.

For those who are still swooning of the very mention of Scarlett Johansson, members of the public were given a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with the actress, after open castings were held in Glasgow in search of burly hitchhiker types. Sadly, auditions took place as far back as July, so we’ll just have to wait for the next visit from Hollywood.

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