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Sunday 21 September 2014

Lights, camera, action! Movie crews take over the streets of the capital

Independent.ie reporters & Ken Sweeney

Published 11/10/2011 | 11:47

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Scenes from the filming of TV mini-series 'Titanic - Blood and Steel' at James's Gate, Dublin
10/10/2011 Liam Cunnigham as Jim Larkin & Valentina Corti during filming of TV Mini series "Titanic - Blood and Steel" at James's Gate, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
10/10/2011 Cast members during filming of Ek Tha Tiger in Trinity College, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Two very different protests took place in Dublin yesterday, 100 years apart. While the Occupy Dame Street bank protest continued, a short distance up the road at St James’ Gate, a huge crowd reenacted a protest from the last century for the filming of the TV Mini series "Titanic – Blood and Steel’.

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The 12 one hour drama series is being made in the capital, and tells the story of the ill fated shipand is subtitled – ‘the untold story, how it all began.’

It’s being made by The DeAngelis Group, responsible for The Borgia on Sky Atlantic and is directed by Ciaran Donnelly who also made The Tudors. He explained his approach to the series: “ We’ll be looking at the people who built the great ship and the world that they were living in,” he tells us. ”In quite a radical move we’re going to build the ship, not sink it!”

Irish actor Liam Cunninhgam plays the role of Big Jim Larkin and filmed scenes yesterday at St James Gate, used as the location for the Harland and Wolff shipyard, urging workers to join the protestors on Donegall Square in Belfast and to march for better pay.

The IFTA winning director Donnelly explained he will be exploring the issues that workers in Belfast experienced at the time of building the ill-fated ship:” We’ll be looking at the struggle of Home Rule,” he said. ”Along with the labour movement and the religious divide that was very present at the time.”

He said Liam Cunningham was he perfect choice to play Big Jim Larkin. "Liam has the stature, the physicality, the presence and the power, and he's the archetype Dublin socialist," he added.

Cunningham said he couldn't turn down the role.

"Jim Larkin was a remarkable man. In fact he's directly responsible for why we have an independent state now. He brought it about through workers' rights and a workers' revolution, which is probably what we need now," said Cunningham.

Meanwhile, over in Trinity College, a hundred more extras danced on the set of Indian blockbuster, 'Ek Tha Tiger' (Once There Was A Tiger).

Expected to be seen by over 100 million people in over 20 countries, the movie features two of India's biggest film stars -- Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif -- as a love-struck couple who meet on campus.

Director Kabir Khan chose Trinity for the setting of his film after visiting the college as a journalist in the mid-90s.

Producers had help from Tourism Ireland with setting up the production in the hope that it might lead to more tourists visiting Ireland.

However, the presence of actor Salman Khan in Dublin has already been an international draw.

"Salman is such a huge star, we have already busloads of his fans coming over from the UK just to see him.

"If we take Salman out on the streets of Dublin, we get hundreds of Indians turning up trying to get his autograph," said John McDonald, one of two Irish executive producers on the production.

Looking something like a young Tony Curtis, leading man Khan compared shooting the film in Dublin to a holiday.

"It has been a kind of holiday to us -- chilled out and relaxed.

"The weather hasn't been perfect but no one minds because the architecture is so beautiful here in Ireland. Filming on the trams and having fun.

"What I didn't expect was so many Asians and Indians here and getting recognised," Khan said.

Filming on 'Ek Tha Tiger' continues for three more days in Dublin while the cameras keep rolling on 'Titanic: Blood and Steel' until December.

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