€80m Brian Boru blockbuster will 'showcase' Ireland to world
The biggest movie ever made on Irish shores is to begin filming here next year.
Boru – the big-budget biopic of Brian Boru – is due to get the sign-off for funding of €80m in the coming weeks.
The movie has been hailed as a massive coup for the Department of Arts and the Irish film industry, who mounted a high-profile campaign this year to bring more big-budget films to Ireland.
The production is due to be officially announced by Minister for Arts Jimmy Denihan in the coming weeks.
Epic battle scenes will be filmed at a number of landmark locations around Ireland, including the Cliffs of Moher. It is believed its depiction of Ireland's natural landscapes, along with the movie's €27m print and advertising budget, will "showcase" Ireland to the rest of the world and boost Irish tourism.
It is hoped Boru will match the success of Braveheart, which was filmed on the Curragh in 1994, starring and directed by Mel Gibson.
Corkman Mark Mahon, the writer, producer and director behind the epic, is launching the graphic novel Freedom Within The Heart this week – the book on which the movie will be based.
Mahon, who divides his time between Ireland and LA, where he is close friends and a former housemate of Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham, describes the Boru biopic as a story about, "bravery and human spirit".
"At the time, the country was being pillaged and destroyed, and it took one man with a vision – ultimately that's all it does take. It's a good comparison to what's happening today. And I believe if you look at our history we are a nation of people who will overcome."
The story will centre around Brian Boru, whose armies fought and defeated the Vikings at the Battle of Clontarf – but who was killed in the closing stages of the conflict.
"We have a couple of big names in mind for the lead but we do plan on using as much big Irish talent as possible for the main characters."
Mahon overcame adversity himself when at the age of 22 he was injured in an industrial accident while working in a pharmaceutical company.
"It was just one of those things that went wrong. It was a major shock to the system. Initially, it was like my whole world fell apart and it was a very difficult time as you can appreciate.
"I began to think about how I could still stay involved in my passion, so I started writing from the hospital bed.
"I spent several months in hospital and I was in a wheelchair for three-and-a-half years, but I was determined to get out of it.
"The one thing I took from my accident is that at times of adversity you either let the situation chew you up – or else you take a positive lesson from it, learn from it and use it to make you stronger."