Irish director Ciaran Donnelly (The Tudors) looks likely to direct three episodes of ‘Vikings,’ the Irish co-produced mini-series which begins filming at Ashford Studios in Co Wicklow next month.
IFTN understands that Donnelly is currently nearing the end of discussions with Irish producer Morgan O’Sullivan’s World 2000 Entertainment and is likely be confirmed as the History Channel project’s second director in the coming days.
Last month, IFTN exclusively revealed that Swedish director Johan Renck (Breaking Bad) will helm the first three episodes of ‘Vikings,’ which will star Irish actor Gabriel Byrne.
Donnelly will then take charge of the fourth, fifth and sixth episodes of the nine-part series from show creator and acclaimed writer Michael Hirst (The Tudors).
Donnelly, Hirst and O’Sullivan are no strangers to one another having previously collaborated on ‘The Tudors’ and ‘Camelot,’ both of which were shot at Ardmore Studios in Co Wicklow.
Donnelly’s most recent work has been on the 12-part mini-series ‘Titanic: Blood and Steel,’ which was also partly shot in Dublin and which recently won him a Golden Nymph award at the Monte Carlo TV Festival.
The €30m ‘Vikings’ series will be filmed in three production blocks lasting 18-weeks in total. The series is currently in its second month of pre-production with shooting on the series set to get underway in the second week of July.
Gabriel Byrne will play Earl Haraldson, a political leader whose position is threatened by young descendant of the gods, Ragnor Lothbrok, who is attempting to become King of the Vikings.
English actor George Blagden (Wrath of the Titans) has also been confirmed to play Athelstan, an Anglo-Saxon monk captured by Ragnar during a raid in England.
The series will chart the destructible behaviour of the powerful Norsemen who raided their way through Europe in medieval times.
Irish crew so far attached to the project include line producer Séamus McInerney, costume designer Joan Bergin and production designer Tom Conroy.
‘Vikings’ will be the first production to use Joe O’Connell’s newly-built €22m Ashford Studios, which has previously been referred to as ‘Ballyhenry Studios’.
Canada’s Take 5 Productions will co-produce the series with World 2000 while MGM will distribute it outside of Ireland and Canada. All post-production facilities will take place in Canada.
‘Vikings’ will air on the History Channel in 2013.
The series is currently looking for extras for the upcoming series and is holding auditions in Dublin and Wicklow.