A vast warehouse on Edinburgh’s waterfront has been turned into a film studio for the latest Avengers blockbuster.
The former wave turbine plant in Leith Docks has been hired for three months by movie giants Disney and Marvel for the £400 million production.
It was confirmed last week that Avengers: Infinity War is filming for six weeks in Edinburgh. It is by far the biggest production to visit the city, with a crew of more than 400.
Parts of Waverley Station, Cockburn Street and the Royal Mile have already been deployed, while Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are among the stars due to film scenes in the city over the next few weeks.
The 160,000 sq ft site in Leith Docks, which has been lying empty for more than two years, has been marketed as a potential film studio, but has not been used for any productions until now.
Dock operator Forth Ports, arts agency Creative Scotland and the Film Edinburgh commission have all been sworn to secrecy over its use for the Avengers film.
However, Forth Ports said the potential of the building – which is in a part of the docks closed to the general public – for filming could help address questions over Scotland’s “capability” to host major film productions.
The “big blue shed”, as it has been dubbed, was built in 2000 at a cost of about £30m for engineering firm VA Tech, but closed with the loss of 225 jobs four years later. It lay empty for several years and was touted as a potential art gallery on the scale of Tate Modern before wave power firm Pelamis moved in. A further 56 jobs went after the company’s collapse in 2014.
Forth Ports confirmed the building was currently in use for a production but was unable to identify which one due to “client confidentiality”.
Divisional director Stuart Wallace said: “We do try to accommodate these kind of things when we can. We hosted the T2 Trainspotting guys in the port last year, in the area around the shed.
“The theatre company Grid Iron recently used one of our warehouses in Dundee’s port for a production, and our site at Tilbury has been used for filming of The Apprentice and Bond films.
“The shed is an unusual facility because of the sheer size and scale of it. There are ongoing enquiries and discussions about potential uses of it. While it’s not fully let out, we’ll continue to engage with people who are interested in it.”
Natalie Usher, director of screen at Creative Scotland, said: “Our screen commission has worked closely with the production, Film Edinburgh and the city council over the past 12 months to secure one of the biggest film productions ever for the city.
“Scotland’s worldwide reputation for excellent crews, facilities and locations continues to be a huge attraction to major international productions. With strong and growing production activity across the central belt, we’re confident we can continue to accommodate large-scale projects of this nature, whatever their needs.”