On Set In Iceland Part 2

Svínafellsjökull glacier with a semi-clouded sky
The Svinafellsjokull Glacier, Vatnajokull National Park

The Vatnajökull Glacier National Park

For the second installment of our On Set in Iceland series, we’ll take a look at the majestic Vatnajökull Glacier. This is by far one of the more popular areas in Iceland for filming. The Vatnajökull Glacier is Iceland's largest glacier by far. It's vast expanse covers a large portion of the island and it has 30+ outlet glaciers (this is one place some of the names can get a bit confusing). Icelandic Mountain Guides offers dozens of glacier tours on and around Vatnajökull, including the Svinafellsjökull outlet glacier tongue.

Interstellar 2014

Speaking of the otherworldly blue ice glacier Svinafellsjökull, you will be able to get an up close taste of  the awe Christopher Nolan must have felt when he chose this location to shoot a few pretty big deal movies. This was deemed the perfect location for scenes from the epic film “Interstellar” and it's not a hard stretch of the imagination to see why! He chose this jagged, ethereal landscape to represent an multiple extraterrestrial landscapes. For this epic film about space and time travel, wormholes and finding a new home for humanity, we'd say Vatnajökull pretty much nailed it!

“Interstellar was my second time filming in Iceland and it was an otherworldly experience. Iceland truly represents the beautiful extremes that nature has to offer.  The local crew - both experienced and professional - warned us that the wind could be so strong at times, it would blow the asphalt off of the road. They weren’t exaggerating; we witnessed it firsthand.”

Christopher Nolan

Batman Begins 2005

Nope, it's not Tibet, it's Svínafellsjökull again!  In “Batman Begins”, when Christian Bale decides to head off to train with the League of Shadows in the Himalayas, he's actually walking up to the stunningly beautiful Vatnajökull Glacier. An entire village and the entrance to Ra’s temple were built on the glacier, as well as a new road to access the setup. The scenes where he where he fights Liam Neeson on the ice lake are also filmed near another of Vatnajökull’s outlet glaciers, Svínafellsjökull.

Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon with a cloudy sky
Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 2013

Finally a movie where Iceland actually gets to play Iceland (and Greenland, and Afghanistan, and the Himalayas!) This Ben Stiller directed film, about a man whose daydreams are far more interesting than his real life, is actually shot all around Iceland, but a large portion of it was shot on or around Vatnajökull including the Kálfafellsdalur valley and the Fjallsárlón ice lagoon. Scenes were shot everywhere from the far western Snæfellsjökull National Park to eastern fjords of Seyðisfjörður, this films a true testament to the extreme scenic variety that can be found in this country!

Some other notable films shot in this stunning locale include “The Fifth Element”, “The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”, parts of “Prometheus”, and “Star Trek: Into the Darkness”.

This is just a small taste of all of the films shot across this beautiful country. Icelandic Mountain Guides tours offers a one of a kind chance at exploring these and many other amazing locations in Iceland. Stay tuned for more installments on our On Set in Iceland series!

About the Author

IMG Staff Writer

IMG Staff Writer

An anonymous but well informed member of our team that enjoys sharing their knowledge of Iceland & Greenland’s stunning nature.

Reader’s Comments