A HOLLYWOOD producer who worked on hit movie The Dark Knight has visited Ireland to scout locations to shoot his next blockbuster.
Philip Lee - who also produced Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - visited Limerick in recent weeks ahead of filming on a $120m science fiction film Inversion.
The plot is centred around a threat to life on earth after the planet begins to lose its gravity.
The movie is due to be directed by Scott Waugh whose last film Need for Speed grossed over $200m since last year.
Details of Mr Lee's visit come as Limerick City and County Council confirmed it is in advanced negotiations to purchase the former Dell premises to transform it into a multimillion euro film studio.
Innovate Limerick, a company owned by the local authority is close to finalising a deal to purchase the 340,000sq ft building at Plassey Technological Park.
Last November the Council confirmed plans to work with Ardmore Studios to provide major film productions facilities in Limerick.
The proposed studios are expected to cost up to €10m and would include the use of the old Dell building.
A spokesperson for the local authority said discussions to purchase the building are at a "delicate stage".
It's understood the visit by four Hollywood movie producers - including Mr Lee - has added an urgency to the sale which is to be decided upon at a Innovate Limerick board meeting next Thursday.
"He (Mr Lee) brought a team to Limerick and they visited locations including Shannon airport.
"They stayed at a hotel in Limerick city for the weekend and had discussions with Innovate Limerick about the potential for filming in a film studio in the region," a source said.