Tuesday 15 October 2019

A piece of the 'Action!' – Ireland takes centre stage as movie hub

Dermot McGuinness, Glen Baker, Alan Sherlock and Liam Carney on the set of Spiders Trap in the former John Player factory. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Dermot McGuinness, Glen Baker, Alan Sherlock and Liam Carney on the set of Spiders Trap in the former John Player factory. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Alan O'Keeffe

FILM crews are out in force on Irish streets and landscapes as movie and television projects continue to harness Irish talent.

New Irish movie Traders began shooting last Thursday when actors Killian Scott from Love/Hate and John Bradley from Game of Thrones went to work on the dark thriller being filmed in Dublin. The Coco Television production is one of the latest productions to be partly financed by the Irish Film Board.

Glassland has started its film shoot starring award-winning Australian actress Toni Collette and Irish actor Jack Reynor. The young Irishman is back working in Dublin after his appearance in the latest Transformers movie and his towering performance in the lead role of What Richard Did.

The independent film, television drama and animation sector contributed a record high of more than €168m to the Irish economy in 2013 – a 42pc increase compared with 2011, with the assistance of the Irish Film Board.

The overall audio-visual sector is worth €500m and employs 6,000 people in Ireland. An adaptation of Colm Toibin's novel Brooklyn starring Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson will begin filming in April in Wexford and Canada. Element Pictures, in a co-production with UK companies, begins shooting The Lobster in March. An unconventional love story set in the future, its cast includes Ben Whishaw of Skyfall and Lea Seydoux from Blue is the Warmest Colour.

The Spider's Trap, a heist movie being shot in the back streets of Dublin by director Alan Walsh, began production last week.

A new tax credit regime to run from next year until 2020 will help Ireland in the fight to attract new international productions amid fierce competition across Europe, said Siun Ni Raghallaigh, chief executive of Ardmore Studios.

The Penny Dreadful drama series, starring Josh Hartnett and Eva Green, will finish its five-month shoot at the studios in Bray in March. The series will debut on Sky Atlantic and Showtime in the US in May. Hopes are high that good ratings for the first series will allow a second series to get under way at Ardmore.

"This is a very big spending project with a fantastic return for the Irish economy. More than 200 people are working on the series, not counting the people appearing as extras," she said. Penny Dreadful, created by Skyfall writer John Logan, will have pumped €33m into Ireland over a nine-month period.

Irish Film Board (IFB) spokeswoman Louise Ryan said State funding of €14m for the board's activities this year, cut by 5.7 per cent on last year, was vital in helping harness investment and jobs.

The board directly invested €7.5m in feature films, TV dramas and animation last year that enabled Irish producers to raise €59.5m which was directly invested in jobs and local goods and services.

Vikings, the Irish-Canadian co-production starring Gabriel Byrne, has wrapped its second series at the new Ashford Studios in Co Wicklow – and a third series is hoped to be commissioned by next May. Vikings shows on Network 2, tonight at 9.30pm.

Irish Independent

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