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New series is 'most Hollywood set I've ever worked on', says excited Charlene McKenna


Charlene McKenna

Charlene McKenna

Charlene McKenna

Charlene McKenna says the South African set for her new series, The Clan of the Cave Bear, was the "most Hollywood" style show she'd ever worked on.

The pilot was filmed in Cape Town and the series is based on the first of Jean M Auel's best-selling book series.

The script, which is written by Maleficent writer Linda Woolverton, sees the drama take place over 25,000 years ago as Neanderthals shared the Earth with the first modern human beings.

"We've shot the pilot so we're waiting to hear if and when we're green-lit to go to series," she told the Herald.

"It's looking positive but I would never hold my breath for anything in this industry.

"We had two crazy months filming in South Africa, it's the most big-budget Hollywood set I've ever seen," she added.

Love/Hate star Johnny Ward and Aidan McArdle of Mr Selfridge fame were also cast in the show, which Charlene says made the set "more homely". "It was such a big job that you could get a bit intimidated and lost, so it was amazing to have them there," she said.

"Plus, one of us always had teabags."

Earlier this year, Charlene starred in HBO's biblical drama AD and says she was starstruck when the show was being advertised in Times Square.

"It got a brilliant reaction in the States, the viewing figures were ridiculous," she said.

"The posters and video were up in Times Square the whole time it was on - it was mad. The ads were on a huge TV screen and I was walking by thinking, 'I'm in that' and it was so weird seeing the ads on the side of buses as well.

The 31-year-old is currently in Dublin filming the fourth season of Ripper Street (inset) and says she's "really excited" for her storyline.

She relocated to New York last year, but says she's barely been there since.

"When the play Ghosts transferred to New York, I was there but other than that I've been gone."