5 December 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network
     
The ‘Doubling Up’ of Dublin
03 Nov 2014 : Sean Brosnan
Location Managers of ‘Love,Rosie’ and ‘Jimi:All Is by My Side’ talk to IFTN about Dublin as a location.

‘Jimi: All Is by My Side’, the Jimi Hendrix biopic set in 1960’s London starring Andre Benjamin and Ruth Negga, was shot entirely in Dublin, courtesy of 12 weeks of scouting by location manager Eoin Holohan. And while a large part of romantic drama ‘Love, Rosie’ was set and filmed in Dublin, a substantial chunk of the movie was set in Boston and a nameless English city, keeping Gordon Wycherley busy scouting Dublin in March 2013 for buildings, dwellings and streets that looked nothing like Dublin.

IFTN talks to Eoin Holohan and Gordon Wycherley, both members of the Irish Locations Guild, about using Dublin for international productions.

Eoin Holohan – ‘Jimi: All Is by My Side’

Eoin Holohan’s undertaking for ‘Jimi: All Is by My Side’ was transforming Dublin into 1960s London.

‘The scouting was tricky because our budget didn’t allow for big resources, no big art department elaborations’, said Holohan, who has in the past helped convert Dublin into Manchester in crime-thriller ‘Father and Son’. ‘We had a lot of exteriors but we just had to be clever about it and very specific so it was just pick a laneway in a small enough location but make it look great. Clear the cars, remove modern signs and dress some people up. You’d be surprised with how much you can achieve just with that. The director (Oscar-winner John Ridley) was also very meticulous, as was the production designer Paul Cross. John did a lot of research and it made things a lot easier. Unlike other productions, we knew exactly what we were doing and we stuck rigidly to a schedule’.

After receiving the script, Eoin went to work on scouting locations working closely with John Ridley and Paul Cross. After getting references for what a location should look like, Eoin scouted Dublin and sent pictures to John and Paul who then came to Ireland to make the final decision. DOP Tim Fleming was then called in to work out frames and camera angles to make the scenes look as authentic as possible. Surprisingly, Holohan does not remember many digital embellishments being added in post-production.

‘I don’t recall too much green screen or digital scrubbing being used. Perhaps when we were filming in Dame Lane, there might have been some digital manipulation to take out a few signs but I am not sure. Other than that, this film was a very intimate film, no big set scenes. Any big scenes we did do were in Fitzpatrick Square and for them we would just clear cars, remove street signs and any modern element of a building. Every location and shot would be carefully constructed. Then you dress extras in a bit of street furniture and you got it! It really helped that John was so organised and had it all in his head beforehand. We all knew what we wanted.’

Other locations used in ‘All Is by My Side’ include the Workmans Club in Wellington Quay, Castlemarket Street, Leopardstown Race Course (as well as a house in Leopardstown with 1970’s furniture), Pembroke Street and Hatch Hall. For the finale, the Olympia Theatre doubled up as The Saville in London.

Holohan and Ridley also set out to portray New York. 'That’s basically the same thing. We found a great place at the back of Saint Andrews Church and Harbour Court just off Eden Quay that had some interesting buildings and fire escapes and it really doubled well as a New York street with a New York laneway. Again, it was just carefully constructed shots and a lot of planning and I think it came out well!’

What advantages does Dublin have for international productions, according to Holohan?

‘I think it’s important for people to know how good the Dublin City Council are for people filming there. They are fantastic, as is their event unit. They really open up Dublin to filming and understand the process of filming. I think it’s also great that we have some top quality, world renowned crew members here in Dublin. The Gardaí are also fantastic. I think filming in Dublin has become so streamlined lately which is great for the business.’

Another pair of helping hands for Holohan is the Irish Guild of Location Managers and Assistants, set up to firmly knit together the few Location Managers working in Ireland.

'I think it would be ridiculous to have it any other way as we are such a small industry, said Holohan. We’ve all worked together at some stage coming through the ranks and we all benefit from sharing information and locations with each other, helping each other any way we can. That has always been the way. And it’s great to have that resource there.'

Gordon Wycherley – ‘Love, Rosie’

The Dublin location scouting for ‘Love,Rosie’ - a love story spanning a couple of decades and cities (Boston, Dublin, nameless English city) starring Lily Collins and Sam Cleflin – fell to Gordon Wycherley, who has previous credits of ‘Calvary’ and ‘Haywire’ to his name. Locations for ‘Love, Rosie’ still proved an ‘arduous task’, according to Wycherley.

‘There really was a huge amount of locations for this project and it was quite daunting at the start. There were so many pubs and clubs and little streets in the script, characters moving in and out of different locations - so you could be shooting a Boston scene one week, English city the next. You have to keep track and find the key ones first and then hope that the secondary ones fall into place’.

Wycherley worked closely with director Christian Ditter sending photographs of locations and suggesting locations to which Ditter then offered his opinion. This approach, says Wycherley, cut out the work and the travelling when the two men finally met up as they are then scouting places that Ditter has already expressed an interest in.

‘All of the Boston interiors were shot in Dublin, with the exteriors being shot in Vancouver’, continued Gordon. 'There seemed to be a lot of hotel scenes, bar scenes, high end wedding venues set in Boston and they could be anywhere really. There are plenty of nice hotels in Dublin. But to get an idea of one particular scout - we had one high end wedding scene set in a Boston hotel. So, I scouted 50 or 60 different hotels for the scene and brought Christian to Powerscourt Ballroom first, which we liked. But, we checked out all the other places before coming back to Powerscourt Ballroom. Now, that was an example of me being spot on first time which definitely doesn’t happen all the time! But you do have to look at other places’.

The location manager credits Dublin’s blend of modern architecture and cosmopolitan streets with old cobbled Georgian streets for making the city so chameleonic.

‘I think when you don’t show the obvious Dublin landmarks, Dublin can really look like anywhere. You can find anything you want. Pubs, clubs and buildings that are state of the art but still mix in the few old Georgian streets that you see in Stoneybatter. For this film, we used a lot of streets in Rathgar, Stoneybatter, the Fitzpatrick Killiney Castle Hotel. The Light House Cinema was used as an art gallery. And because we were also covering different decades, a house in Rathgar was used as the main characters house. We took that over for six weeks. We shot scenes with 70’s furniture, come back then and shoot with 80’s furniture and so on. We also used Dublin airport a lot in this film. We would use Terminal 1 for the older scenes and then the new Terminal 2 is now state of the art and worked perfectly for Boston Airport’.

When asked about an average working day for a Location Manager, Wycherley is quick to confirm that there is no average day.

‘It’s typically long hours! We have the scouting period where we take and file the photographs. Next it’s down to the logistics of shooting. Parking, security arrangements and all that. Every location is different. We are normally in first in the morning and out last at night when we are shooting and it can be quite arduous. Scouting is the easy part!’

Wycherley agreed with Holohan in his praise for Dublin as a location for international productions to shoot.

‘Dublin has a great mix of town, city and countryside. You can get out of the city really quickly which might not necessarily be the case in London and New York. It could take a couple of hours in those cities but in Ireland you could be out in Kildare or the Wickow hills in 45 minutes to get some beautiful scenery. We also have a good guild of location scouts here that all help each other out, perhaps only 20 of us, so if we are stuck on anything we can just send out a general email to everyone and that’s a great resource to have!’

‘All Is by My Side’ and ‘Love, Rosie’ are both currently showing in Irish cinemas.





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