Edinburgh film chief defends 'torturous' Fast and Furious road closure call
FILM bosses have defended the decision to close more than 50 roads in the Capital to allow filming on a new Hollywood blockbuster to take place after it was branded a "new form of torture".
Edinburgh resident Dr Sally Witcher made the claim on Good Morning Scotland on Wednesday during a debate over the city being 'taken over' by film crews as shooting for the latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise gets underway on Friday.
A total of 52 roads are set to be closed during the course of filming, starting with Waterloo Place and parts of Calton Road on Monday.
But dozens more will be fully or partially shut off to traffic over the next few weeks, with production not set to halt until Sunday, September 22.
Dr Witcher described "poor communication" between film bosses and residents over which streets would be affected, adding the staggered nature of closures made planning work commutes difficult for locals.
However, Rosie Ellison, head of Film Edinburgh, said consultation with residents and local businesses had taken place prior to approval for the shoot being given.
Dr Witcher said: "I have the misfortune of living at one end of the city and working at the other, which means every day over the next few weeks I am going to have a bit of an adventure that I could well do without in actually getting to work on time."
"It is 52 roads, this is a Capital, working city. We have just come off the Festival season, and I love the Festival, but I also love it when everyone goes away and we can kind of get on with our lives again."
She added: "I think we just need some assurance that our needs that are being put last. We're fed up with traffic chaos, it has been going on for years and this is just a new form of torture in as much as they are not even closing the same roads throughout."
The ninth chapter in the global hit film series, this installment stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson and Chris 'Ludacris’ Bridges
Filming for the newest chapter in the series will involve nearly 800 crew members and has been billed as "one of the largest and most complex shoots ever" to film in Edinburgh's historic Old and New towns.
However, Ms Ellison said work had been undertaken to "minimise disruption" for locals, adding: "We are very aware that a large feature film such as this has got a large impact on the community, we have been working with the production for months now to try to minimise the disruption that it could cause, the headline of 52 streets being closed across the city, while we wanted to get the message out, most of these roads are not closed at the same time.
"We've got Waterloo Place closed at the moment, that is the longest disruption for a ten day closure, most are just a day or a couple of hours."
She added: "There are a lot of people in the city who are really quite excited about this coming to town. I heard a few schoolkids on the bus this morning saying they wished they were 16 so they could apply to be extras in it."
"A film like this showcases our city all over the world. It is advertising we just could never afford to buy. It is a very exciting prospect for a lot of people to be involved in this.
"It has a very great economic impact on the city. It is a crew of 800 people working over the month and they are employing 375 local people. That's crew, services, it is a lot of spend coming into the city."