A new feature, ‘Hound – The Legend of Cúchulainn’ is expected to go into pre-production in the second half of 2011. The historical feature is to be directed by Paul Bolger (Happily N’Ever After) and written by Barry Devlin (A Kiss for Jed Wood). A British/Irish co-production, it is expected to have a multi-platform release in 2013 complimented with a stage show and a documentary series.
The film will tale the tale of Ireland’s fabled warrior, Cúchulainn – the protector of Ancient Ulster - who is said to have slain a hound and killed dozens of men. The Breakthru Films and Pillar Stone Productions will looks to explore the gritty reality of Cúchulainn’s life as opposed to the fairy tale image of the hero that most Irish children grew up with. A further documentary series about Cúchulainn will be produced with Ruth Meehan (Close) and former RTÉ development executive, Jennifer Griffin involved.
The producers on board for the film include Breakthru Film’s Tamsin Lyons (The Last Thakur) who will be based in Dublin for the duration of the project and who tells how the film will be approached: “We’re re-examining Cúchulainn,” she says. “We’ll be looking at the darker elements of his story and won’t be sticking completely to the traditional tale.” Hugh Welchman (Peter and the Wolf) and Pillar Stone’s Paul Bolger are the film’s other producers. The rest of the film’s crew are TBC and the casting for the film will not commence until the end of next year.
The development of the big budget film has been funded by the Irish Film Board (€29,000) and Northern Ireland Screen. Tamsin has been based in the production’s Dublin office for the last month working with her team on a teaser trailer. The film’s script is also currently being finalised and the team have started having a look at possible locations for the film’s shoot: “We’d really like to use some of the places mentioned in the Cúchulainn legend,”Tamsin tells us. “But Ancient Ireland had such a different landscape to the way places look today. So a lot of it will be done in studio.”
The film is expected to have its release in 2013 and Tamsin explains IFTN that it is to be one of several Cúchulainn projects released. “At Breakthru Films all our projects are multi-platform,”she explains. “We’ll have a documentary series about Cúchulainn’s life come out around the same time because there are so many aspects of his story that we want to cover that won’t fit into the film. We’re also going to have a stage production.” Apart from what is reported above, the production details of both the stage show and the documentary series have not yet been locked down and talks are still ongoing. Tamsin suggests that this may be the first in the series of Irish legends that she will explore but, as she explains: ”The story of Cúchulainn is immense – we’ve more than enough with it on our plate!”