Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland.
I live in Edinburgh, Scotland, where popular movies like “Avengers: Infinity War” are filmed.Since the release of the Marvel movie, several other production companies have flocked here. Rising tourism and increased filming have made it a little harder to live in the city.
While attending the University of Edinburgh in 2017, I became one of few real-world people who could use the excuse that the Avengers’ attempt to save the city made me late to class.
My town was a filming location for several scenes in “Avengers: Infinity War,” and it wasn’t uncommon to stumble upon a set.
My typical walk to campus had multiple disruptions — starting at the train station with mazes of boxes shrouded in green-screen walls.
Main drags like Cockburn Street and the Royal Mile were almost entirely blocked off by Wanda and Vision’s thwarted romantic getaway.
Now, Edinburgh seems to be a hot spot for film crews. But, as a resident, the luster of celebrity sightings and film crews is starting to wear off.
The Marvel film crews certainly turned heads in the small city
There were sets across the city for the movie.
Like London, Edinburgh is a capital city, but it is much smaller, and its screentime up until the late 2010s had been minuscule in comparison.
At the time, major movies and TV shows set in Edinburgh were few and far between, with “Trainspotting” (1996) perhaps being the most synonymous with the city — for better or worse.
It was certainly jarring to see Captain America arrive, ready for battle, at my usual stop at Waverley Train Station on a random day in 2017. It made me laugh, especially after I noticed the mysterious, boxed-off set and intimidating “No photography” signs.
One day, I even saw Wanda get thrown through the window of Laila’s, a real café on Cockburn Street.
In this small city, the stunt immediately raised alarm bells. Judging by their screams, several onlookers probably thought there’d been a real accident.
There have been a lot of production companies here since Marvel wrapped
Wanda and Vision have several scenes in Edinburgh, including a big fight sequence.
I’ve never read a comic book, but when “Infinity War” premiered in 2018, I was curious and delighted to see my city represented on the big screen.
And after “Avengers” wrapped, major projects, such as “Eurovision” (2020), “F9” (2021), and Amazon Prime’s “Good Omens,” used Edinburgh as a key filming location.
Upcoming releases — Netflix’s “One Day” series and Guillermo Del Toro’s “Frankenstein” adaptation — are using my city as a backdrop, too.
Having crews here might boost the local economy, but it still comes with drawbacks for residents.
For many of us, living on a set makes daily life way more difficult
Unfortunately, the novelty of seeing my city on the big screen has worn off — and it’s hard to be a resident when filming is underway.
For example, in September 2019, there was a three-week, 52-road closure in the middle of town so the “Fast and Furious” sequel could be filmed.
Even worse, the action movie was filmed just a week after the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival brought millions of visitors to our 560,000-person town.
The small city has been greatly impacted by the attention from Hollywood.
Since I’ve lived here, housing prices and the cost of living in Edinburgh have skyrocketed — partly because of the overtourism that can result from these movies.
I still want to see my city in film, but I worry that the visibility comes at too steep of a price. If anything, it’s turning Edinburgh into something like a theme park for tourists, a fantasy built for temporary amusement.
When a Marvel-loving friend came here for the first time, she asked me to show her the famous kebab shop Wanda and Vision visited in the film.
But the shop doesn’t exist here. It was just a set made for the production.
The problem felt fitting after witnessing the past six years of frequent filming. The Edinburgh that international audiences knew was an Edinburgh that didn’t exist.