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Ciaran Donnelly Talks with IFTN as SYFYs Krypton Hits UK & Irish Screens
20 Aug 2018 : Nathan Griffin
IFTN caught up with Irish producer/director Ciaran Donnelly to talk about working on SYFYs Belfast-based series, Krypton.

A Superman-prequel series, ‘Krypton’ chronicles the adventures of The Man of Steel’s grandfather Seg El, who fights to defend his family name and save the planet from an evil, authoritarian regime.

The show debuted across the UK/ Ireland on E4 on Sunday, August 19th and is set to run until the beginning of October after the US show was acquired by the channel earlier this year.

Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, ‘Krypton’ is executive produced by David S. Goyer (‘Man of Steel’, ‘The Dark Knight trilogy’) through his Phantom Four production company. Damian Kindler (‘Sleepy Hollow’) is executive producer and showrunner.

The show stars Cameron Cuffe (The Halcyon’), Georgina Campbell (‘Broadchurch’), Elliot Cowan (‘Da Vinci’s Demons’), Ann Ogbomo (‘World War Z’), Rasmus Hardiker (‘Your Highness’), Wallis Day (‘Will’), Aaron Pierre (‘Tennison’) with Northern Irish actors Ian McElhinney (‘Game of Thrones’) and Paula Malcomson (‘The Hunger Games’) also featuring.

How did you find the experience of being the first project to be filmed in the new Harbour Studio in Belfast?

“The new studio in Belfast is a fantastic facility. As ‘Krypton’ was the first production there they were still painting the walls as the show was landing on site. The Belfast crew were brilliant and I can imagine the studio expanding to serve demand. The show would have taken more stages on site as its foot print went beyond the square footage there. So we occupied a second set of stages on the other side of Belfast.”

How did you find working on a VFX & Green Screen driven production having previously worked on shows such as Vikings & The Tudors?

“There is a substantial amount of VFX and some green screen work in ‘Krypton’ and shows like ‘Vikings’ and ‘Tudors’ also employ those techniques, to build and expand their worlds, towns, set extensions, ships etc. I've worked with VFX a lot on various productions. ‘Crossbones’ for example, the pirate ships are CG built over actual sailing ships which we shot at sea and are spectacular. Harley and the Davidsons used a lot of VFX for world building. ‘Titanic Blood and Steel’ is another example.

How did your involvement in the series come about?

“Put simply, my name ended up on the showrunners desk via my reps in the US. We met, discussed and I got the job as an EP and producer/director on the show. It's a combination of CV, reputation, agents, meetings and being right for the show.”

As director of the initial three episodes on the series, did you have additional responsibilities, such as helping develop the show stylistically or in terms of casting?

“When a director opens a show, they're setting the tone and style of the show, contributing substantially to the design, casting and the world building generally. So you're in the thick of it with the show-runner, the studio and the network and the stakes are high.”

Season 2 was confirmed at Comic-Con last month with a short teaser trailer being released. What can people expect from the second season?

“I'm not involved in the second season, because I'm working on my own show, but I do know that the second season will build on the first, things will evolve on all fronts! No spoilers here.”

‘Krypton’ is produced by Phantom Four in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television for the SYFY channel. It's broadcast on E4 in UK/Ireland on Sundays at 9pm.

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