Long John Eddie invades our Treasure Ireland
Swashbuckling seadogs turn local harbour into period drama
Shiver me timbers -- we've been invaded by pirates!
Dun Laoghaire Harbour was overrun by seadogs of the swashbuckling variety yesterday as filming of 'Treasure Island' for the Sky 1 HD TV channel got under way.
And right at the heart of the action was the most iconic pirate of them all -- Long John Silver -- who is being played by stand-up comic and actor Eddie Izzard.
But judging by the shaved head and face-length tattoo, Izzard is not taking many tips from Johnny Depp, who portrayed another famous on-screen pirate Captain Jack Sparrow as a flamboyant and eccentric showman.
Depp modelled his version on Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards but Izzard has gone for a Bruce Willis/tough-guy look.
Sky, together with their partners Parallel Films wants to retell the coming-of-age tale in a modern, "muscular" way that will appeal to a broad family audience.
Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel follows the adventures of Jim Hawkins, an innkeeper's son who is unexpectedly drawn into the world of piracy when he finds a treasure map belonging to a recently deceased guest.
As he races across the Caribbean to find the hoard, he uncovers a plot by one-legged buccaneer Long John Silver to seize the treasure and murder his shipmates.
In recreating Long John Silver, Izzard is following in the footsteps of cinema giants such as Orson Welles, Charlton Heston and Anthony Quinn.
However, unlike his predecessors who had to have their leg tied up behind them to create the charactistic peg leg, Izzard simply wore a luminous green sock. Computer wizardry will replace the sock with a digitally generated peg leg when the filming is complete.
Yesterday, despite the icy temperatures, the West Pier of Dun Laoghaire Harbour resembled some far-flung port as multi-cultural sailors in period costume wandered among chickens, ducks, horses and other cargo.
The ship at the centre of the action, 'The Spaniola', is to be played by a 145ft tall-ship, otherwise known as the 'Earl of Pembroke', which arrived into Dun Laoghaire Harbour earlier.
Starring alongside Izzard is Rupert Penry-Jones, best known for his spy role in the BBC TV series 'Spooks'.
The director is Steve Barron ('Arabian Nights', 'Merlin', 'England Manager') and the producer is Laurie Borg ('Made in Dagenham', 'Little Voice', 'Sense and Sensibility').
Also coming on board the film team are Irish costume designer, Lorna Marie Muan ('Killing Bono') and line producer Des Martin ('Tara Road').
Filming in Ireland, which began in Cork over two weeks ago, will last five weeks, reaping a few welcome pieces of eight for the local economy.
In the New Year, the production moves to the Caribbean island nation of Puerto Rico and it is expected the drama will be released on Sky 1 HD TV in Christmas 2012.
Following on from 'Neverland' which was filmed in Dublin and Wicklow, 'Treasure Island' is part of Sky's multi-million pound HD drama investment fund.