Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Discover the secret life of Iceland:

It may not be top of everyone’s holiday list but Iceland's recent emergence as a favourite location for filmmakers may change that.
By James Evans
Date: January 07 2014
Tags: travel, film, iceland,
Editor Rating:

Iceland, known for its out-of-this-world landscapes and extreme, unique environment has had a deluge of blockbuster movies and TV productions filmed recently on the island located in the juncture between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Sea.

Hollywood films including The Secret Life of Walter MittyThor 2: The Dark World and Noah have either been released or will be before March, all with Iceland providing a visual feast of stunning backdrops and diverse scenery.

Iceland is seen as a cold, hard to reach country, but it is actually less than 5 hours by plane from New York and 3 hours from London. And it is popular with producers and filmmakers because of its raw, volcanic landscape, geysers, hot springs, lava fields, black deserts and variety of locations.

Summer offers some of the longest daylight hours on the planet, a staggering 21 hours a day between mid May and mid August.  In winter, the average daylight hours is five.

From iconic films such as Die Another Day (2002) to Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise (2013), Iceland has played the part of alien planet, raging battlefield, tropical Pacific Island, the Himalayas in scenes shot all over Iceland, from Stykkishólmur in the Westfjords to Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall.  TV productions including 2013 Emmy nominated Game Of Thrones can also call Iceland their home.  

"Iceland is just an amazing place, where the quality of light is truly different from anywhere on Earth,” says Stuart Cornfeld, Producer of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. “You look off into the distance, you can see forever. You get a scope of natural beauty you just don't find many places." 

Ben Stiller, the lead actor and director of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty agrees.

"Iceland is a very special place. There is something about the landscape, the quality of the light and the energy of the place that makes it like no other. Shooting Mitty there made the film come alive both on screen and off.

“To be there every day and experiencing the extreme weather changes was really invigorating. I feel very fortunate to have had that time there. I look forward to going back soon. Pretty much every time I watch the movie I want to go back," says Stiller.

Popular films recently shot in Iceland

  • Noah (2014) - Fossvogur, Reykjavík
  • Oblivion (2013) - Highlands (Drekavatn)
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) - All over Iceland
  • Thor 2: The Dark World (2013) - Fjaðrárgljúfur, Skógarfoss waterfall, Skeiðársandur, Dómadalur
  • Prometheus (2012) - Dettifoss, Highlands (Dómadalsleið, Landmannalaugar
  • Flags of our Fathers (2006) - Reykjanes Peninsula
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) - Snæfellsjökull‎
  • Die Another Day (2002) - Vatnajökull (meaning Glacier of Rivers), also known as the Vatna Glacier


Ben Stiller in a scene from Walter Mitty


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