Wednesday 20 November 2019

Hollywood's Irish Inspiration

Actress Jessica Chastain
Actress Jessica Chastain
Actress Saoirse Ronan
Aidan Gillen

It's been a while – 20 years, give or take – since the term 'Paddywood' held any weight on these shores. Still, a number of heavyweight names are set to descend on Ireland for a spate of high-profile shoots this year.

Buoyed by the success of films like The Stag, Irish film-makers are enjoying a purple patch. Attracted by experienced crew and actors, the landscape and tax breaks, international film-makers have long been drawn to Ireland.

Even John Logan (creator of Penny Dreadful, the TV series which has wrapped on filming earlier this month) was moved to comment: "You get better Victorian London in Dublin than you do in London." And as Josh Harnett sightings in Dublin abound, we look at the big names rolling into town – or coming home – in 2014.

1 Aidan Gillen

Fresh off the set of the Charles Haughey biopic Citizen Charlie, Aidan Gillen heads straight to the Midlands this spring for the filming of this micro-budget Irish feature. Written and directed by Mark Noonan, You're Too Ugly is produced by John Keville (Ghost Train).

2 Saoirse Ronan

The much-awaited adaptation of Colm Toibin's Costa Award-winning novel Brooklyn finally rolls into production this March/April. Joining Saoirse Ronan (who stars as Ellis Lacey) will be Domhnall Gleeson, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent. There's a glittering roll-call behind the camera, too: director John Crowley (Boy A) will preside over the production, while novelist Nick Hornby has co-written the script with Toibin.

3 Jessica Chastain

Speaking of book-to-screen projects, fans of Sebastian Barry's bestselling epic The Secret Scripture – based on the diary of a woman's extended stay at a mental hospital – are in for a treat. The adaptation will finally start production this summer in locations across Wicklow and Sligo. Oscar-nominated Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) will star as Roseane McNulty alongside acting stalwart Vanessa Redgrave (Atonement), who plays the older version of the character. Producing veteran Noel Pearson (My Left Foot) is at the helm of production.

4 Rachel Weisz

Ms Weisz will find herself in rather fine company in Kerry this April when she joins Colin Farrell on the set of The Lobster. The film is described as a love story set in a dystopian near future, where single people are arrested and detained in a creepy hotel, where they are obliged to find a mate within 45 days. This is the first English-language film for director Yorgos Lanthimos, best known for his controversial, Oscar-nominated film Dogtooth. Expect surreal goings-on aplenty.

5 Sienna Miller/Chloe Sevigny

This summer, hipster darling Sevigny and tabloid favourite Miller will head to rural Ireland (locations yet to be confirmed) to film Love & Friendship, a Jane Austen adaptation with a modern twist. Whit Stillman – who has already worked with Sevigny on The Last Days Of Disco – will assume the position in the director's chair. On the other side of the camera, the project is in good hands, and is being produced by rising star Katie Holly (who also produced last year's homegrown film Jump).

6 Chris O'Dowd

Chris may be treading the boards on Broadway this weekend in Of Mice And Men alongside James Franco, but he will be back in his native Midlands in the coming months as the Moone Boy juggernaut continues apace. Production on Season Three is ongoing, while the team is holed up in Wicklow's Ardmore Studios. O'Dowd's Broadway co-star Franco is no stranger to film in Ireland, either: he starred in the ill-fated 2006 epic Tristan & Isolde. Now that he's got a mate in Roscommon, perhaps Franco can be pencilled in for his summer holidays here too?

7 Cynthia Wade

Hardcore film buffs will no doubt be keenly aware of Cynthia Wade, the documentary maker behind 2008's Oscar winning documentary Freeheld. This month, Wade is making her way to Lisdoonvarna as she films part of her latest project Second Fiddle: a documentary based on the life of legendary violin maker Carleen Hutchins.

8 Kim Cattrall

After giving the Irish accent a supremely game stab in A Tiger's Tail, Kim Cattrall is returning to Ireland soon to film The Treehouse. Actor Tom Sturridge (The Boat That Rocked) makes up part of the treacherous love quadrangle at the heart of his drama.

9 Nicole Kidman

Details are thus far scant on the ground about Strangerland, a drama that is currently in pre-production and slated for filming later this year. There's a holy trifecta of Aussie talent in front of the camera as Nicole Kidman is joined by Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving. Though primarily set in Australia, the smart money says that with Fastnet films – the folks behind Life's A Breeze – producing, there could well be an Irish element to the project.

10 Tamsin Egerton

She spent last summer working on the adaptation of Cecelia Ahern's Love, Rosie and being spotted with her boyfriend Josh Hartnett on the streets of Dublin ... and now Tamsin Egerton is about to wrap on John Boorman's latest wartime opus Queen & Country. Richard E. Grant and Love/Hate star Brian F. O'Byrne make up this glittering cast.

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