Sunset Song: Extras, Extras read all about it

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Residents of Ballater have probably noticed an increase in young men in the area sporting facial hair styles not seen since the early 1900s.

Well that’s because the movie factory are in town once again filming a new Silver Screen adaptation of the world famous novel by Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song.

Sunset Song is revered as one of the most important Scottish novels of the 20th century.

Despite its classic status, efforts to bring Sunset Song to the big screen have toiled for around 15 years – until now.

Cameras are finally rolling in Upper Deeside, with locations also announced in Arbuthnott.

The novel tells the story of a young woman’s struggles growing up in a dysfunctional family in a farming community.

Several weeks ago a page appeared on facebook called ‘Ballater Extras’ appealing “for over 200 extras from April 24 to May 10 in Ballater” and also requesting that “long haired bearded men” apply for the positions.

Movie industry insiders confirmed Sunset Song was the production desperately seeking men with beards.

The film-makers – including Dundee-based producer Bob Last, who worked on the mainly Edinburgh-set animated feature The Illusionist – have revealed they have travelled to the other side of the world to shoot some scenes, with a specially harvested crop on a farm in New Zealand standing in for the Mearns landscape where Sunset Song unfolds.

Producer Last, who has reunited with Liverpool-born director Terence Davies on the project, insisted the move was necessary to help keep production costs down during the shoot.

This has to reflect the changing of the seasons in rural Aberdeenshire, where Grassic Gibbon was raised.

Two images of the film’s main stars – English actress Agyness Deyn and veteran Glasgow actor Peter Mullan – show them in the Christchurch countryside.

Published in 1932, Sunset Song was the first in what came to be known as
the author’s A Scots Quair trilogy.

The BBC turned the book into a TV series in 1971 and, in 2005, it was named the best Scottish book of all time at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.