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