13 April 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Filming in Belfast begins on live action How To Train Your Dragon film
17 Jan 2024 : News Desk
Dean DeBlois
Filming has begun on a live action adaptation of How To Train Your Dragon in Northern Ireland, following delays last year caused by the SAG-AFTRA strikes.

Director Dean DeBlois, who directed the original animated How To Train Your Dragon trilogy, has announced via social media that filming on the live action adaptation has begun in Belfast. Northern Ireland will double as the Isle of Berk, the fictional Scandinavian island setting of the animated films. The series is based on author Cressida Cowell’s books of the same name.

How To Train Your Dragon is understood to follow the same story as the first film of the animated trilogy, with young Viking Hiccup (Mason Thames) aspiring to hunt dragons, only to unexpectedly befriend a young dragon. Thames (The Black Phone) is joined by Nico Parker (The Last of Us) as Astrid, and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead) as Gobber. Gerard Butler (Gamer) reprises his role as Stoick, Hiccup’s father.

Filming in Belfast was set to begin in July 2023, prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, with pre-production having already begun and sets built at Titanic Studios. Due to delays from the strike, the live action remake has been pushed back from a March 2024 release date to a June 2025 release date. The SAG-AFTRA strike also delayed the filming of the Blade Runner 2099 series in Belfast, which ultimately culminated with the decision not to film in Belfast being announced last October.

How To Train Your Dragon is the latest in a long string of fantasy films to be shot in Northern Ireland, with other major productions including Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves and Game of Thrones.

IFTA Q&A Series: Patricia Kelly on Directing
IFTA Q&A Series: Damien Lynch on Sound Design
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