drama at the city chambers!

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry will be filming at the City Chambers
Tom Hanks and Halle Berry will be filming at the City Chambers
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It is a location that has seen its fair share of drama.

But while the City Chambers has been something of a theatre for political sparring, especially in recent debates on the tram project, later this week it will host a different type of drama – as it becomes a temporary Hollywood film set.

The ancient building is to play host to the filming of the hotly anticipated film Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.

The home of the city’s political elite will become a “double” for an upmarket London hotel when filming is expected to take place on Friday.

One scene will see an actor climb down the side of the Chambers before running off away from the building through the City Chambers quadrangle, which contains the hand prints of local stars such as Ian Rankin, JK Rowling and Sir Chris Hoy.

Hanks and Berry will be in the Capital at various points in the next seven days, with filming also expected to take place on the Scott Monument.

But filmmakers are remaining tight-lipped about some of the details because of fears they will be besieged by crowds of fans trying to catch a glimpse of some of the big stars involved.

Belle Doyle, locations department manager at Creative Scotland, said: “Obviously we do prefer if people can come to Edinburgh and do their filming without being disturbed.

“It is good for Edinburgh but we do not want to confirm or deny any locations because the bigger the crowds the more difficult it becomes to film.

“One of the good things about Edinburgh is that there tends to be a lot going on in the street anyway so people are used to that and don’t try to catch a glimpse of the stars as much.”

The film is the latest to choose Edinburgh as a location, with recent projects including horror film The Awakening, starring The Wire’s Dominic West, love story One Day, featuring Anne Hathaway, and Simon Pegg’s black comedy Burke and Hare.

Figures from Edinburgh Film Focus show that last year was Edinburgh’s busiest ever year, hosting 375 productions and 1073 filming days, which led to a spend of £5.2 million.

Ms Doyle said: “We always try to get filming in all parts of Scotland, and Edinburgh is seen as a good option because it is a city that is used to filming and has some amazing locations. We send out images of Edinburgh most days to people interested in filming.”

Early filming last week took place in Glasgow, but the stars of Cloud Atlas are set to move on to Edinburgh later this week.

The film, which features six different storylines, is adapted from David Mitchell’s prize-winning novel.

Tourism chiefs expect star-spotters to be out in force.

Manuela Calchini, regional director of VisitScotland, said: “We have seen a growing trend in ‘set-jetting’, where film fans visit the locations of their favourite movies, with one in five overseas visitors to the UK inspired to come here by images they have seen in films and on television.

“It’s fantastic also for the city to host such high-profile actors as Halle Berry and Tom Hanks, who is no stranger to the area, with him having filmed the phenomenally successful Da Vinci Code at Rosslyn Chapel.”