‘The Honeymooners’, a September 2005 film co produced by River Deep Productions and Hells Kitchen International where Dublin was made to look like New York City.
Plot: Working class New York bus driver Ralph Kramden constantly has ideas for get-rick-quick schemes for himself and his best friend, Ed Norton, who's always around to get him in (and out) of trouble.
Cast & Crew: The film was directed by John Schultz, produced by David T. Friendly, Mark Turtletaub, Eric C. Rhone and Julie Durk. The Irish co-producer was Paul Myler, Edmund Sampson was the Irish Location Manager. For more cast and crew information please click here
Irish Location: The film, starring Cedric The Entertainer and Mike Epps was shot mostly on O’Connell Street, Amiens Street, Parnell Street and Sir John Rogerson’s Quay with some scenes taking place in the old Independent Newspaper print factory and an ESB station in Wicklow.
How the look was achieved: New York style shop fronts masked typical Irish ones whilst other more ‘brashly Irish’ premises had MAC trucks parked in front of them. Traffic on O’Connell Street was reversed with the assistance of Gardai and the Dublin City Council - traffic in the city centre was reversed with the
assistance of the Gardai and Dublin City Council and a major city centre driving route was filmed with a Garda escort. Shelbourne Park became the New Jersey Greyhound Stadium with the aid of Americanised advertisements and signs
Award Nominations: Both Gabrielle Union and Cedric the Entertainer were nominated for awards for the roles they played in ‘The Honeymooners’. Gabrielle Union received a nomination for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Theatrical Film’ at the 2005 BET Comedy Awards ceremony and Cedric the Entertainer was nominated for an ‘Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role’ at the 2005 Black Movie Awards.
Filming scenes on Dublin's O'Connell Street
In conversation with the film’s Irish co-producer, Paul Myler:
Talking with IFTN, Paul Myler told us that, originally, L.A. and Toronto were the fore-runners as location choices for the film but it was Ireland’s Section 841, coupled with Paul’s previous experience with using Dublin to portray New York in three other films (Laws of Attraction in 2004, In America in 2002 and Gold in the Streets in 1996) that gave Dublin a strong case.
Adding to this, the set facilities available at Ardmore Studios Dublin was chosen. The film originally had a budget of $42m when L.A. was to be the location used. Paul cut this down to $35m with Dublin as the location used for 41 of the 50 days shooting done. Section 481 allowed for the film makers to claim back $2m and thus using an Irish location instead of an American brought the film’s budget down $9m.
But how easy is it really to turn Georgian Dublin into Metropolitan New York? Paul was quick to mention Charles Wood, set designer for the film who, with Paul, sourced and shipped over dozens of different props to give an authentic American feel to each scene. Yellow taxi cabs were brought over to Dublin as was a New York City Bus, salvaged from a New York junk yard.
A film of this immense scale calls for the co-operation of authorities and, again, Paul Myler had nothing but praise for Ireland’s support. Myler and Naoise Barry of the Irish Film Board had previously set up the Dublin City Action Plan, launched in the Mansion House, whose members include OPW, An Garda Síochána, Trinity College Dublin and Iarnród Éireann. Each member had to be seen to have a commitment to film-making, to be making a conscious effort to help the Irish film industry.
With a cast and crew where Irish workers were in the vast majority, Paul would have no hesitation in using Ireland as a filming location again – not just because it is so lucratively cost-effective but for the network of gifted Irish crew and members here who, Myler notes, were sorely lamented by their American producers when production came to a close.
Section 481: "Everybody wants to know the tax deal" (Paul Myler)
One might consider that it would have perhaps been much more cost-effective to have shot ‘The Honeymooners’ in New York itself but it was Ireland’s 1993 move to introduce Section 481 that has meant it is sometimes more cost-effective to dress Ireland up as different locations around the globe than to actually use the locations being depicted.
Ireland created the first ever tax-based incentive for film and television whereby up to 28% of eligible spend is repayable to film-makers who use Ireland as the filming location. For a year-by-year summary of Section 481 please click here
As Paul Myler dynamically puts it, Section 481 is "a powerful weapon to have in your arsenal (. . .) you’re not at the table without Section 481"