Not for the first time have the streets of Glasgow been transformed into another city with it having done so for World War Z starring Brad Pitt but here’s how Glasgow was turned into Manhattan for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Following the prologue, the film jumps in time to August 1969, when an estimated 4 million people lined the streets of Manhattan to fete NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins and celebrate the success of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Staging the parade and the chase that follows was an enormous challenge that required considerable on-the-ground preparation in Glasgow, Scotland, which doubled for Manhattan. “We needed a location for the chase and parade sequence through Midtown east and up towards Hunter College, and the scale of the buildings in Glasgow were really great for that,” production designer Adam Stockhausen says.
He looked at period footage and photos, especially photographer Stephen Shore’s images of 1970s America, for inspiration on how to dress the streets and what vehicles to include in the parade. “We saw some really fun things in the photographs and footage that we ended up including in the scene,” he says. “Like a station wagon with the rear gate down and a camera crew—that kind of detail is a really fun thing to grab because it’s really specific, really authentic. It is the real thing. We added a few of our own things, parade floats and pieces that weren’t in the original, but the skeleton of it is really from the actual parade.”
Action vehicles supervisor Alex King was keen to include the 1952 Chrysler Imperial Parade Phaeton, which carried Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins through the ticker tape parade up Broadway. But only three versions of the car were ever made, so King was forced to procure a similar Chrysler, remove the roof, and paint it black. The team spent three weeks dressing Glasgow’s main artery, St. Vincent Street, which was then closed to the public for seven days as filming took place. “You can’t walk into a downtown metropolitan area and just take it over for three months,” Stockhausen says. “You have to do your work in as compressed a period of time as you can possibly manage and then get out and let people get back to their lives. So, there was an incredible intensity for everyone to rush in and do all this dressing, put up all these signs, put up all this bunting. It was go-go-go.”
Fortunately, the weather cooperated. The shooting days, which employed up to 1,000 background actors as parade-goers and Vietnam War protestors—were bathed in blue skies and sunshine, a godsend for Papamichael, who felt that the sequence should be colorful and vibrant to contrast with the 1944 prologue. The shifting palette indicated how much the world had changed around Indy. “Although it was all shot in Glasgow, it felt like we were really in New York in the late ‘60s—the scale of it, the colors, the hippies, the pipers, the big band, the cheerleaders and the cars and police on horses,” DoP Phedon Papamichael says. “The contrast couldn’t be greater than the sequence that precedes it. You explode from the night and the Nazis into this whole new visual bouquet of colors and tone. It worked as a great visual device for a transition of time.”