Morgunblaðið 10th June 1978

Suspicious men and expressionless (cold-hard) faces – Watching shooting of spy movie in Reykjavík

Desmond Bagley's Running Blind Icelandic media article from Visir 10th June 1978.

As previously reported in Morgunblaðið the spy story by Desmond Bagley, ‘Out into the unknown’, is being filmed in Iceland this summer by BBC Scotland with Ragnheiður Steindórsdóttir as the main female lead in the three-part television series.

Morgunblaðið’s journalist and photographer followed the work of film crew yesterday as they filmed scenes taking place in Reykjavík at the beginning of the film.

The reporter approached Ragnheiður and asked how things were progressing.

– It’s well underway. Work on the film began in Scotland in early May and I went there for two days to take part in the final scene of the film. Filming began here on 29th May and will continue until mid July. The weather has been a bit inconvenient for us from time to time, but with minor changes we have been able to resume work.

– Is it a lot of hard work?

 – We generally start about eight in the morning until six, so this is quite rigorous. The production crew are very grateful as people have both welcomed us and been very accommodating, which has really helped speed up the process.

– What scene are you filming now?

– It’s a scene early in the film where the main character notices a suspicious person in a car parked outside the home of his Icelandic girlfriend.

– Now, you play this Icelandic girlfriend. Who plays the ‘hero’?

– He’s called Stuart Wilson, he’s acted in a lot of theatre productions in the UK as well as acting in one movie and the BBC television series Anna Karenina.

Whilst the reporter and photographer watched, twenty-five people were busy working on the scene. The scene in question had to be filmed from different angles and the utmost precision was taken to ensure consistency between film clips. So Stuart Wilson had to take care to always have a half-smoked cigarette in his mouth and a reasonably full glass of wine in his hand during filming because, as we know, both cigarettes and alcohol are as indispensable as a gun in this type of film.

It raised a lot of laughter all round as the camera was directed at the suspicious car. Because the actor concerned could not drive, four men had to push the car along the street and the cameraman had to make sure they were not visible in the shot, instead focussing just on the expressionless [cold-hard] face of the driver and the front of the car.

The reporters from Morgunblaðið then had to leave as the crew were preparing to film the next scene, the make up lady was beginning to prepare Ragnheiður for her next scene on the schedule: the British hero and his Icelandic fiancé, which was to take place in the couple’s bed.

Image titles:

Top: The suspicious man pushed past the hero.

Middle: Photo of main actors Ragnheiður Stenindórsdóttir and Stuart Wilson.

Bottom: Director Bill Brayne (far right) giving the crew advice during filming of the mysterious scene.

Images: RAX (Ragnar Axelsson)

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1. Morgunblaðið (1978). ‘Grunsamlegir menn og kuldaleg andlit’ (10th June 1978 p. 10) © / Árvakur hf.