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Third Wicker Man movie set to be part-filmed in isles

Wicker Man director Robin Hardy.

FILMING for the third part of the ‘Wicker Man’ movie series is set to take place in Shetland this winter.

Director Robin Hardy, who oversaw the acclaimed 1973 original and its 2011 follow-up ‘The Wicker Tree’, is developing new flick ‘The Wrath of the Gods’. 

The film’s plot will feature descendants of Viking warriors as they resent the creation of a Norse Saga-inspired theme park.

Eighty five year old Hardy has decided to film a number of scenes in Shetland – as well as mining the Up Helly Aa fire festival for direct influence.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched on Wednesday to let fans of the mysterious ‘Wicker Man’ series pledge money in return for special perks.

Icelandic actress Halla Williams is set to feature in the series' third installment.

Part of the reason why the production needs extra funding is to create a replica of an Up Helly Aa viking longship for filming.

Speaking to Shetland News, director Hardy said that he expects filming – which will also visit the likes of the Highlands and Moray – to take place in the winter months.

“I expect to shoot all of it in winter weather,” he said. “The Wrath of the Gods is winter weather, and then some. And we would hope to include Up Helly Aa in that. But obviously it’s being shot across a number of other locations.”

Hardy couldn’t divulge much information about how Up Helly Aa ties in with the overall plot – “unfortunately, that would give away the end of the film”, he said.

“But Up Helly Aa is a background to a variety of scenes which involve the Viking participant with one of the principal characters.

“I can’t tell you any more than that. And those will be shot in the buildings of Lerwick, which hopefully will be done at the same time, or around the same time, as Up Helly Aa.”

“The Norse Sagas provide all sorts of wonderful stories that we in the film world have not really explored,” Hardy continued.

The viking longship set to be created for the movie will be a slightly downsized version of the ship crafted each year for the Lerwick fire festival.

And will it end up in a blaze of fire? “It could happen, yes,” he coyly replied.

‘Wrath of Gods’ will feature a cast that includes the likes of James Mapes, Christopher Leveaux and X Factor Iceland presenter Halla Williams.

Its two lead characters will be “brought together in an unlikely relationship because of their mutual love for steampunk”.

The film’s initial crowdfunding target is £140,000.