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Out in Iceland

Location, Location

Location, Location


When Hollywood wants to transport you, Iceland proves a must-have special effect.


Pictured: 'Die Another Day' shot at Fjallsarlon

With a volcanic and glacial topography unlike anywhere else, Iceland feels otherworldly and ancient -- like a different planet, or at least a bygone version of ours. In addition to attracting tourists from every corner of the globe, this singular ambience has also prompted Hollywood film crews to flock to the Icelandic countryside, which has served as a backdrop for some of your favorite sci-fi and period epics.


At least two Bond films, 1985's A View to a Kill and 2002's Die Another Day, were shot at glacial lagoons, the latter's pivotal car chase unfolding on the glassy surfaces of Fjallsarlon. Prometheus, Ridley Scott's 2012 prequel to the Alien saga, richly embedded Icelandic vistas in its aesthetic, with landscapes representing somewhere deep in space, and an opening shot scanning the raging flow of the Dettifoss waterfall.

Iceland has also lent itself to the notably ashen palettes of directors like Clint Eastwood, who, when making 2006's Flags of Our Fathers, set up camp on black sand beaches like those in Reykjanes. The result was an indelibly stark depiction of men at war, with steam and a unique surf providing a look both gloomy and majestic. More recently, Darren Aronofsky trekked to this Nordic nation to evoke biblical times for Noah, filming Russell Crowe in craggy, untouched lands akin to Thorsmork and the Tindfjallajokull glacier.
Most commonly, filmmakers turn to Iceland when they want to broaden the scope of viewer escapism.


A scene from 'Interstellar'

When Out's team toured Iceland's breathtaking wilderness in the south, we were told we weren't far from production zones for J.J. Abrams's forthcoming Star Wars installment. Additionally, Christopher Nolan, who had already filmed in Iceland for Batman Begins, returned to the country for his highly anticipated space opera Interstellar. Details on the film are under wraps, but we do know that locales like Mafabot and the Svinafellsjokull glacier hosted Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, who play astronauts scouting far-off realms after passing through a wormhole. We kinda know the feeling.


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