Thursday 23 March 2017

Disney follows Game of Thrones and looks to Irish landscape as a film location for its latest project

Sasha Brady

Disney's new musical The Lodge will be shown in autumn. Photo: Disney
Disney's new musical The Lodge will be shown in autumn. Photo: Disney
Montalto Lodge in Ballynahinch is the scene for Disney's latest musical, The Lodge.
The Dark Hedges near Armoy, Co Antrim, a location made famous by Game of Thrones. Photo: Northern Ireland Tourist Board/PA Wire

Disney is following in the footsteps of Game of Thrones and looking to the Irish landscape in creating what it hopes will be a successful follow-up to its High School Musical franchise.

The musical is titled The Lodge and is set on the 400-acre Montalto Estate at Ballynahinch in County Down.

Some scenes are also being shot in Castlewellan and Tollymore Forest near Newcastle.

The 10-part series tells the story of Skye, a 15-year-old city girl who goes with her father to live in a rural holiday lodge following the death of her mother.

Montalto Lodge in Ballynahinch is the scene for Disney's latest musical, The Lodge.
Montalto Lodge in Ballynahinch is the scene for Disney's latest musical, The Lodge.

The Lodge has a cast of 22 and 67 crew, of whom 46 are from Northern Ireland, including local producer Raymond Lau.

In a statement, David Levine, the director of programming for the Disney Channels in the UK and Ireland said: “Northern Ireland has a great production pool and up until now it has been mostly known for swords and dragons.

The Dark Hedges near Armoy, Co Antrim, a location made famous by Game of Thrones. Photo: Northern Ireland Tourist Board/PA Wire
The Dark Hedges near Armoy, Co Antrim, a location made famous by Game of Thrones. Photo: Northern Ireland Tourist Board/PA Wire

“Disney Channel is bringing songs and dancing – we have a great, talented cast who can not only act but sing and dance and we have original songs.”

The project represents another huge opportunity for the Northern Ireland production community, which is developing a global reputation, especially as a location for science-fiction stories.

BANBRIDGE, NORTHERN IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 28: A film set is constructed for the Game of Thrones fantasy television series as filming for season six continues on September 28, 2015 in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BANBRIDGE, NORTHERN IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 28: A film set is constructed for the Game of Thrones fantasy television series as filming for season six continues on September 28, 2015 in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Ridley Scott’s new film Morgan, starring Kate Mara, is being made at Galgorm Castle, Ballymena. The same location has been used for The Frankenstein Chronicles, a television series starring Sean Bean.

Ben Wheatley, the director of High Rise, spoke to Independent.ie about why he chose Belfast as a filming location for some scenes of his dystopian thriller.

 “Ireland is where a lot are looking now because there’s so much on offer and such a big welcome to crews and productions.

“And because of Game of Thrones and Star Wars and the success they’ve had, it’s risen to the top of the list in Europe.”

The Lodge will complete filming before the summer, and will be shown first on the Disney Channel in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It is then expected to be screened on the channel elsewhere in Europe.

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