Iceland on Film - Famous Film Locations in Iceland
Recently Iceland has come alive with all sorts of strange and unfamiliar creatures. No, I‘m not talking about the Icelandic elves and trolls but creatures like the thunder god Thor, the biblical Noah and the terrifying White Walkers North of the Wall. Unlike the elves however, these characters are all fictional and part of the many films and TV productions that have fallen in love with the Icelandic landscape as a spectacular backdrop to their stories. And the best thing is that you can visit all these places and recreate iconic scenes from your favourite films!
Among the most popular areas for film shoots is the South Coast with its stunning variety of waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers and, of course, the ever popular Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. First seen in the James Bond film Die Another Day where the whole lagoon was frozen in order for Mr. Bond to have an epic car chase on it. Unfortunately the ice palace featured there is not real and therefore not available as accommodation, but if you really want the experience of being inside an ice structure a visit to the ice tunnel in Langjökull glacier will give you a taste.
The nearby Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe, is also a popular site for filmmakers wanting to put their characters in hostile and alien environments in order to test their mettle. It’s Batman’s way to Ra’s al Ghul’s camp in Batman Begins and the icy planet Matthew MacConaughey and Anne Hathaway’s characters find themselves on in Interstellar. Underneath the glacier are the black sand beach of Vík í Mýrdal and the outwash plains of Mýrdalssandur. This is where Noah built his ark in Darren Aronofsky’s film of the same name. Most recently this stark landscape has been used as Jyn’s home planet in Star Wars Rogue One and, as yet undisclosed, setting for the upcoming 7th season of Game of Thrones.
Speaking of GOT, if you head further up north to the Mývatn area you will find yourself in Wildling land. Here’s where all the North of the Wall scenes are set and you can even join a tour guided by local Game of Thrones buff, Jón Þór Benediktsson that’ll take you to where the White Walkers roam and Jon Snow and Ygritte’s cave of love (to put it politely) is. Kit Harrington has even said Iceland is his favourite location, “"because the country is beautiful, because the Northern Lights are magical, and because it was there that I fell in love," Awwww, now you can’t get a better recommendation than that!
Ben Affleck and Jason Momoa were recently in the remote Westfjords shooting scenes for Justice League. Apparently Aquaman’s home is here in Iceland, which makes sense since we’re an island, surrounded by water. The Snaefellsnes peninsula was practically an extra character in Ben Stiller’s everyman adventure The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And no wonder, since the mystical Snæfellsjökull lends the area an energy unlike any other place in the country.
The sleepy town of Akranes, just north of Reykjavik, literally blew up when the cast and crew of the 8th Fast & Furious film, The Fate of the Furious, rolled in. Luckily it was all done with special effects so you can still visit the town. Just don’t try any fancy car stunts, they’re best left to the specialists.
If you’re the kind of film fanatic that doesn’t like too venture to far from the nearest cinema, Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik has also seen its fair share of film and TV shoots. Currently, writer Charlie Brooker and his crew are in town filming scenes for the next season of bleak, near-future prophesy Black Mirror and we’ve just said goodbye to author Neil Gaiman who was here for his upcoming series American Gods. Last year also saw Reykjavik as the setting for an episode of Documentary Now! and the Netflix series Sense8.
So you see that feeling like a movie star (or a superhero or an astronaut) is an everyday occurrence for the Icelandic people, and now you can be a part of that too! All jokes aside though, seeing Iceland being represented in movies from all over the world always gives us a special kind of pride. We love our trippy-alien planet-Wildlings land-country. After all, Thor lives here!