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Production News 06/05/99
06 May 1999 :
As I reported in my last column, the second series of The Mystic Knights of Tir na nOg has indeed been canceled. A lot of the speculation as to why mumbles vaguely that disappointment with S481 was behind the decision, but it would appear that a ruthless ratings system on behalf of its American founders, Saban International, was the real assassin. With a slate of about half a billion at any given time the company employs a series target ratings system and if the figures don't come up to scratch, well, sorry guy, but take a hike….

So, what's due to sneak into the country now then the long evenings are upon us, and what's been knocking about for the last month ?

Though the Sky May Fall is still sneaking about Dublin under the watchful eye of John McKenzie, the man who brought us The Long Good Friday. Starring Joan Allen as the late Veronica Guerin, Pierce Brosnan, fresh from the set of St.Patrick, takes the garda role and Mannix Flynn plays the evil Gilligan. The fact that half of the extras playing Flynn/Gilligan's cronies were in fact real life Gilligan cronies was mentioned to me by someone working on the production, so I reckon the camera gear is safe enough.

Gerry Stembridge's All About Adam wrapped on Saturday (was that really a sixteen day shoot ?), with Stuart Townsend taking the lead as Adam. Described as a comedy about a man and two women it also features Judy Hudson (Goldie Hawn's even more irritating daughter) and our own Rosaleen Linehan.

On the lower budget front, Romek (hope I spelled that right) Dmitry has just completed an interesting four minute animated piece for the Darklight festival. Called Airplane, the film was shot by James Mather using the green screen process and copious models and shows the final minutes of a planes descent into shrapnel. Post production is currently being completed in The Yard and the film will be the first Irish production to be transferred to a digital film print, so budding Spielberg's take note.

And what's due in ?

Well at varying stages of vagueness I managed to track down the following 'looking pretty certain' arrivals. Barry Levinson looks like dropping in to the South to shoot An Everlasting Piece, written by New York-based Irish actor and writer Barry McEvoy, an unlikely tale about the bond between a Northern Catholic, a Northern Protestant and a hairpiece. And as soon as he can get out of his Garda uniform and across the city to Ardmore, the duracell battery that is Pierce Brosnan is due to start in a (not altogether wise) remake of that dated Steve McQueen vehicle "The Thomas Crown Affair" (best remembered for its whiny "Windmills of my Mind"). Also rumored to be at a moving nicely along development stage is the Quinn brothers second Irish feature, an adaptation of J P Dunleavy's notorious novel, The Gingerbread Man. Jimmy Smallhorne too, fresh from a Tarantinoesque year of film festivals and Pat Kenny interviews on the back of his impressive debut, 2by4, is due to return to the old sod to shoot an as yet untitled film about a group of women from Ballyfermot who head off to Lourdes, (just please don't let Sinead cameo) while Alan Maloney looks set to get up and running with the, can you wait for it ?, searing sequel to Falling for a Dancer, the aptly named Falling For a Dancer II. Also rumored to be 'coming in soon' is the long awaited screen adaptation of Busby's Babes, a film about some football team or other, but no doubt the suits will wait 'til the results are in on the George Best Story before green-lighting that one. The unflappable Edwina Forkin is producing Pierce Lehane's Oscailt winning script "Ten Steps to the Door" on 35mm as I write, with Gareth Keogh from Double Carpet, Colm O'Maolai from Zanzibar and Liam Heffernon from Clash of the Ash…oh yeah, and Glenroe. Ronan Fox will do the camera honours and John Hind the design.

Nicky Fennell 6/5/99

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