Work has finally begun on the Disney film Artemis Fowl based on Wexford author Eoin Colfer's best-selling fantasy espionage series about a 12-year old criminal mastermind who battles against a powerful race of fairies suspected of being behind his father's disappearance.
The long-awaited movie which was first talked about in 2000 when the rights were bought by Disney before the first Artemis Fowl book was even published, will be filmed in England, Northern Ireland and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and is set to be released in August 2019.
Colfer hopes to visit the studio set on an old army base south of London in a few weeks time as the filming of principal roles continues and is looking forward to attending the premiere but otherwise he is not involved in the making of the film. 'It's been a great experience but I don't want to hang around the set or attend meetings', he said.
The director is Kenneth Branagh and the screenplay was adapted from the first of the eight-book series by the award-winning playwright Conor McPherson who spoke to Colfer a few times during the writing. 'It's a very different artform. I can spend two chapters writing about what a character is thinking. You can't do that in film. I wasn't going to tell Conor McPherson how to write. It's a brilliant script'.
'I will be very excited to see it and I hope the readers will enjoy it', he said from London where he and his wife Jackie were coincidentally staying in a hotel occupied by some of the cast last week.
'I think they're talking about it as a series depending on how this one performs. If it does well I would love to get everyone over to Ireland for filming. There are plenty of locations here. If we could get them to Wexford, that would be incredible', said the author. The disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was the film's producer but Disney removed him from the project after he was accused of sexual assault and harassment allegations.
The film will star young Kilkenny newcomer Ferdia Shaw in the title role with Lara McDonnell (Love and Rosie) playing Captain Holly Short, a feisty elf who is kidnapped by Artemis for a ransom of fairy gold. In the underground fairy world of Haven City, Academy Award-winner Dame Judi Dench plays Commander Root, the leader of the reconnaisance division of the fairy police force LEPrecon while Josh Gad (Beauty and the Beast, Murder on the Orient Express) is Mulch Diggums, a kleptomaniac dwarf who attempts to rescue Holly.
Above ground, Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones, Cinderella) is the Fowl family bodyguard Butler and Tamara Smart (The Worst Witch) plays Butler's niece Juliet with Miranda Raison (Murder on the Orient Express) as Artemis's mother Angeline. Other cast members include Josh McGuire, Hong Chau, Nikesh Patel, Michael Abubakar, Jake Davies, Rachel Denning, Matt Jessup, Simone Kirby, Sally Messham and Adrian Scarborough.
Several members of the creative team including the director of photography Haris Zambarloukos; production designer Jim clay; composer Patrick Doyle and hair and make-up designer Carol Hemming previously worked on Branagh's 'Murder on the Orient Express' which was released last year following his earlier success with Disney's Cinderella.