Oscar-nominated Irish director Ruairi Robinson (Fifty Percent Grey) has gone into pre-production on his debut feature ‘The Last Days of Mars’, which is being co-produced by Ireland’s Fantastic Films and boasts a strong cast including Liev Schreiber (Scream), Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky), and Romola Garai (Atonement).
Adapted by screenwriter Clive Dawson (The Bunker) from a short story by Sydney J. Bound, the Irish Film Board-funded feature will begin shooting at Shepperton Studios in London next month before filming gets underway on location in Jordan.
Post-production and all visual effects on the feature will be carried out in Ireland, although producer for Fantastic Films John McDonnell has not yet announced which post-house or VFX studio will look after the feature.
A number of Irish crew will also work alongside Robinson on the project with Robbie Ryan (Fish Tank, Wuthering Heights) on-board as cinematographer. Ryan has recently just completed work on director Ken Loach’s ‘The Angels’ Share’.
The plot of ‘The Last Days of Mars’ tells of an astronaut crew who, on their last days on the planet, are on the verge of a major scientific breakthrough after their rock specimens reveal microscopic evidence of life.
Irish filmmaker Robinson was nominated for an Oscar in 2002 for his animated short ‘Fifty Percent Grey.’ He has since made a number of live-action shorts including ‘Silent City’ with Cillian Murphy and ‘Blinky’ with Max Records.
Fantastic Films will co-produce alongside London-based Qwerty Films. Michael Kuhn (Being John Malkovich) and Andrea Cornwell (The Scouting Book for Boys) are the producers with McDonnell and his Fantastic Films co-hort Brendan McCarthy co-producing. International sales and distribution will be handled by Focus Features International.
Michael Kuhn said of the project: “I have loved making sci-fi films since I made ‘Pitch Black’ and for ‘The Last Days On Mars’ we have assembled a great team to do justice to a wonderful and commercial script”.