Tuesday 23 January 2018

It's no joke as unholy downpour halts battling 'Fr Brendan' in his tracks

"Safe House" New York Premiere...NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 07: Brendan Gleeson attends the "Safe House" premiere at the SVA Theater on February 7, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)...E

Greg Harkin

ACTOR Brendan Gleeson strolled into an Irish village yesterday to start filming for his new film role as a priest – sporting a new beard.

But his clerical garb was hidden away under a jumper, black anorak and navy woolen hat as torrential rain played havoc with the shoot.

Gleeson is playing the lead role of ‘Father James Lavelle’ in a new movie Calvary, a dark comedy about a priest’s battles with feuding neighbours in his parish.

Real-life Gardai sealed off roads leading into the village of Easkey as Gleeson was joined on set by Chris O’Dowd and Aiden Gillen.

“It was a dreadful day for filming, normally the sun shines here all the time,” laughed the chairman of the community council Joe Cosgrove.

Gleeson and the rest of the cast and crew had to leave the set after an hour-long downpour yesterday afternoon, the actor being shuttled back to his trailer, followed by the rest in a rain-drenched minibus.

The film is directed by John Michael McDonagh, whose collaboration with Gleeson on ‘The Guard’ netted €15M at the box office, almost a third of it in America.

“It is with great excitement, bordering on tumescence, that I am looking forward to collaborating once more with Ireland's greatest actor, Brendan Gleeson, and working with the finest ensemble cast ever assembled in the history of Irish cinema,” said McDonagh yesterday.

“I would like to thank the Irish Film Board, and the BFI, for their continuing support for filmmaking that seeks to escape from the tiresome, rarefied confines of Dublin 4. Up the West!"

McDonagh is fulfilling a promise to his mum Mary, who is from Easkey, that he would one day set a film in the Sligo coastal village famous for its fishing and surfing.

Local people are hoping ‘Calvary’ has the same success as ‘The Guard’ and bring tourists flocking to the village.

“We first heard about a film coming here in June and we were delighted to help facilitate the cast and crew here,” said retired Garda Joe Cosgrove.

“It is fantastic to have the cream of Irish acting here in Easkey and of course we hope the film will be loved here and abroad and people will come to see all we have to offer here. Sure the scenery is spectacular.”

Gleeson’s role centres on a priest intent on making the world a better place but he is continually shocked and saddened by the spiteful and confrontational inhabitants of his small country town. After being threatened during confession, he must battle the dark forces closing in around him.

But Mr Cosgrove says Easkey folk certainly aren’t like that in real life.

“We have a great sense of community here. We never caught the Celtic Tiger madness and we don’t have the ghost estates thank God, but we do have a wonderful way of life here of a better Ireland,” he said.

Bridesmaids star Chris O’Dowd is certainly feeling at home.

The 13th century ruins of Roslee Castle, once home to the O’Dowd clan, stands at the edge of the village.

Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales for the film. Deals are already concluded for Canada (Alliance Momentum), Australia/ New Zealand (Transmission), Middle East (Front Row) and CIS (CP Digital).

Calvary is due for theatrical release in 2013 and will be distributed by Momentum Pictures in the UK and Ireland.

The crew will try again today (Wednesday) to continue their filming, hoping the weather improves.

Irish Independent

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