‘Food Guide To Love’, a Dublin-set romantic comedy directed by Spanish husband and wife team Dominic Harari and Teresa de Pelegri, and starring Richard Coyle and Leonor Watling, will begin shooting in Ireland on August 7.
The feature, an Irish, Spanish and French co-production, is currently in pre-production in Dublin. Ireland’s Parallel Films and Spanish production company Tornasol are the main producers with France’s Haut et Court also on board.
The film’s leads will be played by English actor Coyle (Grabbers) and Spanish actress and singer Watling (Paris Je T’aime).
Speaking exclusively to IFTN, directors Harari and de Pelegri – who also co-wrote the script with Irish screenwriter Eugene O’Brien (Eden, Pure Mule) – described the plot of ‘Food Guide To Love’ as a “dysfunctional love story between an Irish food writer named Oliver Byrne and a politically committed Spanish woman called Bibiana.
“It’s a comedy of romantic errors. Oliver writes a weekly column called ‘The Food Guide To Love’ from whence the title of the film comes from.”
A strong Irish cast have also been recruited with David Wilmot (Good Vibrations) set to play a hippie who comes between the two leads and Bronagh Gallagher cast as the cynical and humorous wife of Oliver’s best friend.
Other Irish cast attached to the project include Lorcan Cranitch (Rome) and Ger Ryan (Raw), who will play Oliver’s mother. Chris Newman (Aisling’s Diary) and Michelle Beamish (Eden) have also been cast in minor roles.
‘Food Guide To Love’ will shoot for six weeks in Dublin and will be filmed entirely on-location with no sets to be built. Locations around Camden Street, Grantham Street, Grand Canal, Lincoln Place, Charlotte Quay are currently pencilled in for use.
Spanish cinematographer Andreu Rebés is the director of photography on the feature with the majority of the rest of the crew Irish-based.
Ruth Cody (Cold Turkey), Mary Callery (The Clinic) and Alan Moloney (Albert Nobbs) are the local producers on the project. IFTA-winner Tom McCullough (Hunger) is the production designer. Susan Scott (Parked) is on costumes and wardrobe. Rosie Blackmore (The Clinic) is on make-up, while Carole Dunne is on hair. Louise Kiely is the casting director. Martin O’Malley (The Clinic) is the assistant director.
‘Food Guide To Love’ is the third feature Harari and de Pelegri have worked on as writers and directors - and their second that will receive a cinema release following 2004’s ‘Only Human’.
Speaking to IFTN, de Pelegri said the idea for a romantic comedy about eating habits and food came about from having “lots of people in our family with different eating requirements.”
She added: “We got to thinking that it’s never easy with food and people. There’s always an emotional attachment to food and how it can bring conflict in a relationship. So we just thought we could write a relationship story where all the conflicts are a plate of food.”
Based in London, the couple’s initial draft of the script was set in the English capital before the decision was made to move the setting to Ireland.
“It was kind of a mixture of accident and fate really,” says Harari of the decision to re-locate the setting. “We live in London, so we initially wrote it for there. However, our producer – Tornasol – had worked with Parallel on ‘Triage’ with Colin Farrell and they thought it would be great if we could transfer the story to Dublin, production wise. When we looked into that, we thought that it would really fit. There’s a key element in the history of our character who is traumatised by being forced to eat this childhood food, which, when we found we could use coddle, fitted very nicely.
“Also we’ve always had an attachment to Ireland. We actually got together (as a couple) on St Patrick’s Day in New York in an Irish Pub! So we’ve always had an affinity for Ireland.”
“To adapt the script to Dublin, we got a development grant from the Irish Film Board to bring on an Irish screenwriter Eugene O’Brien who has been great in helping us transfer the story to a Dublin setting. He’s been great to work with. He’s got a real ear for dialogue.
Next month’s shoot will also mark the second time that de Pelegri has shot in Ireland having worked on José Luis Guerín’s 1990 documentary ‘Innisfree’.
“A bunch of years ago I was involved in the production of a Spanish film called ‘Innisfree’,” she told IFTN. “That was shot on the West coast in Cong, Co Mayo. We spent some days shooting in Dublin as well and we also came here to show the film, so I have already shot in Ireland before and I’m looking forward now to my second time!”
‘Food Guide To Love’ will be released next year and has received funding through the Irish Film Board, Television Espanola, the Spanish Film Board and Canal+. The feature received a production loan from the Irish Film Board worth €275,000 in its latest round of funding. It also received a €15,000 fiction development loan in November 2010.