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‘He waved at me and my face went red’: Film fans’ delight as star Taron Egerton shoots scenes in Aberdeen

Taron Egerton on set during filming for the new film Tetris.
Taron Egerton on set during filming for the new film Tetris.

Film fans have gathered to watch as Hollywood star Taron Egerton shoots scenes in Aberdeen today.

Tillydrone Avenue has been given a makeover to play the part of Soviet Russia during the 1980s for the filming of Tetris.

The movie about the popular video game is directed by Peterhead-born Jon S. Baird, who was keen to show off the filming locations the north-east can offer.

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Crews began setting up there on Friday, with more activity on Saturday as the road filled with dozens of production vehicles ahead of cameras rolling this morning.

The action is centred around Aberdeen University’s zoology building, which appears to have been transformed into the HQ of the Elorg – a state-owned computing firm in the USSR.

The zoology building has been transformed into the Elorg HQ

Locals’ excitement as Hollywood lands on their doorstep

Among the dozens of carefully distanced spectators looking on today was furloughed cafe worker Sara Wood, who is a big fan of Egerton and arrived at 7am to get some snaps of the action.

The 20-year-old from Bridge of Don had been told that the actor was unable to pose for photos with fans or sign autographs due to Covid rules – but she was nevertheless delighted when the Rocketman star approached the barriers to say hello.

Tillydrone Avenue has been closed as the scenes are played out

Miss Wood said: “I’ve been here since 7am and they were already setting up then. Egerton didn’t arrive until 9am.

“I am a big fan and he came right up to the barrier and was saying hello and waving to everyone.

“They have been doing a couple of scenes, then it seems to take about 30-40 minutes to set another up.”

For one Aberdeen woman, the filming served as a reminder of home

Diana Hunter attended alongside husband Daniel and children Alan and Zara while on a Sunday morning family cycle.

Mrs Hunter was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, while it was under Soviet rule and now lives in Bridge of Don.

She said: “I lived in those times, and a lot of the set decoration reminds me of home.

“The only thing I would point out is there should be lots of flags flying, in the Soviet Union they had red flags flying everywhere.

“Many buildings in Aberdeen remind me of the USSR style, so I am not surprised this city was chosen for filming.”

Egerton enjoying a coffee on set

Star’s dressing room parked outside front door of Aberdeen fan

Aberdeen University security worker, George Irvine, and his 18-year-old daughter Caitlyn live on Tillydrone Avenue and have been caught up in all the excitement over the weekend – with a mobile changing room stationed just outside their front door.

Miss Irvine, who studies animal care at college, said: “We have been able to see the actors going back and forth.

“I am a big fan of Taron Egerton, and have really enjoyed his other films.

“He waved at me this morning and I went all red in the face.”

Mr Irvine added: “I must say I have been surprised by the scale of it, but we have found it all very exciting.

“We have been seeing it all from our front door, from when all these old Russian cars started getting delivered on Friday to the filming beginning this morning.”

Vintage Russian cars are being used in the filming

Engineer Liam Moore, 24, was out for a Sunday stroll with a pal when they happened upon the busy scenes.

The Hilton resident said: “We knew the filming was happening so thought we would have a look, but didn’t expect to see all this.”

Egerton and director Jon S. Baird in discussion

Hopes to put Aberdeen on the map as a filming location

Egerton has been filming scenes at the front of the zoology building, including exiting a red taxi and having an animated discussion with a female co-star.

The 31-year-old actor who rose to fame in 2014 as the star of action picture Kingsman: The Secret Service, and gained acclaim as Elton John in 2019 biopic Rocketman.

He was sporting a crisp grey suit and carefully trimmed moustache to play Dutch video game designer Henk Rogers.

Fans had gathered as early as 7am to get a glimpse of the A-list star

A smoke machine was seen to be in use, with crew members fanning the manufactured vapour in the right direction as it competed with a north-east breeze.

The Sunday morning calm was occasionally broken by director Baird – who has helmed such hits as Stan and Ollie and Filth – issuing instructions which were relayed over speakers.

Egerton is starring as Henk Rogers, a Dutch video game designer

The filming at Tillydrone Avenue will continue until Thursday, and other parts of Aberdeen will also be used in the movie.

The council recently published a list detailing the road closures that would be in place – mainly around King Street, George Street and the Gallowgate – during the shoot.

In November Baird revealed he was hoping to shoot parts of the movie in the Granite City.

He said: “I’ve got a real desire to put Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire on the map as a filming location. I really want to light the fuse in a way to start seeing big productions coming here.

“We’d be bringing money to the economy because the crew for something like this is about 300 people and we’d need to put them up in hotels and feed them.”

The front of the zoology building has been given a facelift for the shoot

Filming has previously taken place in Glasgow, with the city’s Morrison Street being transformed into a Soviet street for the movie, complete with vintage cars and military signage.

The movie is being funded by tech giant Apple and produced by film director Matthew Vaughn’s Marv Films.