Film locations in East Iceland and the highlands are not as many as in other parts of Iceland. Or the areas have not been utilised as much as other parts. Apart from the Westfjords, where only one Hollywood film was shot, the beautiful East Fjords and the highlands have the fewest film locations.
Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Geography in films is often messed up. People walk from one place to another in the same scene when they may be on the city’s other side in real life. That’s the case with Walter Mitty as well. He was in Iceland when he was in the Himalayas, for example, and Iceland also stood in for Greenland.
When he was witnessing the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which is in South Iceland, he was, in fact, in Seyðisfjörður in the East Fjords. At the same time, the map he was holding said he was in Stykkishólmur, which is in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland.
In our Film Locations in North Iceland blog post, we also wrote about Trapped (Ófærð). The show’s setting is Seyðisfjörður in the East Fjords, and many scenes are filmed there. But many were also shot in Siglufjörður in North Iceland.
The British horror psychological thriller television series happens in Svalbard, an Arctic Norwegian Settlement. However, many of the scenes were filmed in the Reyðarfjörður in the East Fjords. A bit more hospital place but they sometimes had problems filming because it didn’t snow enough!
Reyðarfjörður is a town of about 1400 people, with most people working in the Alcoa aluminium plant.
The Tom Cruise film Oblivion was partly filmed in Iceland. Apart from Hrossaborg in North Iceland, scenes were shot in Jarlhettur by Langjökull Glacier and Drekavatn Lake near Landmannalaugar in the highlands.
Jarlhettur is a series of almost 20 tuff peaks at Eystri-Hagafellsjökull Glacier in Langjökull Glacier. They are classified as tuff ridges and were formed by fissure eruptions under a glacier. Their length is about 14 kilometers.
Drekavatn is a part of a cluster of lakes in the highlands. The cluster is called Veiðivötn Lakes and consists of about 50 big and small lakes. The area is about 20 kilometer long and 5 kilometers wide.
Many of the lakes are volcanic craters that formed in the Veiðivötn-eruption in 1477, e.g. Hnausapollur and Ljótipollur. The lake cluster was formed in its current form in this eruption. Numerous eruptions have occurred in the Veiðivötn area since the end of the ice age, e.g. the eruption in Vatnaöldur at the beginning of the settlement period (around 870), when the settlement pyroclastic layer was formed. The Tungnár lava flows, including the great Þjórsá lava field, originate from the Veiðivatn area.
Thor: Dark World
Scenes in the second Thor film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe were filmed in South Iceland and the Highlands near Landmannalaugar. When Thor and Loki are confronted by Malekith and his Dark Elves, they are, in fact, in Landmannalaugar.
Against the Ice
The 2022 historical survival film is about Ejnar Mikkelsen, who organized an expedition in 1909 to Shannon Island, East Greenland, to recover the records of the ill-fated Denmark expedition, whose members had all died two years earlier.
The scenes were filmed on location in the Icelandic highlands and glaciers, as well as in Greenland. You can watch it on Netflix.
Do you know of any other film locations in East Iceland and the highlands that we forgot?