9 December 2016 The Irish Film & Television Network
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Locations Case Study: Father and Son (2009)
27 Jul 2009 :
Dougray Scott in Father and Son
A co-production between Ingenious Broadcasting and Octagon Films, this crime drama is set in Manchester and Dublin but was filmed almost entirely in Dublin and Wicklow with the former transformed to look like Manchester.

Plot: ‘Father & Son’ focuses on ex-criminal Michael O’Connor (Dougray Scott) who returns to Manchester from a quiet life in Ireland with his pregnant girlfriend Anna (Flora Montgomery) in order to save his teenage son Sean from prison and to redeem his own troubled past.

Cast & Crew: The series was directed by Brian Kirk, Produced by Michael Casey and written by Frank Deasy. Director of Photography was Ruairi O’Brien. The cast includes Dougray Scott (Mission Impossible II), Stephen Rea (The Crying Game), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda), John Kavanagh (The Tudors) and Flora Montgomery (When Brendan Met Trudy)

Irish Location: Most of the Mancurian scenes were around Dublin city Eoin Holohan, the series’ Irish location manager, lists the other specific locations used: “The old Motor Tax office behind the Four Courts, was used as the exterior of the Manchester Police Station. The Henry Grattan building at DCU was used as the exterior for the hospital scenes. Aberdeen St. and Montpelier Park (both adjacent to Infirmary Rd.), were used as Michael’s father’s street, and Connie’s street respectively. Other locations include the arches beneath Tara St. station, the exterior of Crumlin Shopping Centre, Basin St. flats off James’ St.

How the look was achieved: One might think Dublin’s world renowned and instantly recognisable Georgian architecture would have posed aesthetic problems but Eoin Holohan knows otherwise: “The main rule of thumb was not to show any Georgian buildings, as Manchester is a Victorian City. The more ‘brutal / oppressive’ feel of post war architecture fitted with the script, so that was the route we went... Once we had established the look we wanted, finding suitable locations wasn’t a problem.”  And transforming Dublin wasn’t too mammoth an operation; Eoin lets us in on another trade secret, “Subtle, but obvious changes such as street signage, posters, advertisements, car registrations etc. instantly transform a location.”

Internal scenes filmed in Dublin

Series producer Michael Casey explained that Dublin was chosen to portray both itself and Manchester because "the variety of architecture in Dublin is a great strength." He also cited Section 481 as a strong motive for using an Irish location. Considering these qualities and the added bonus of tax relief in the form of Section 481, Eoin Holohan states:“The beauty of Dublin is that it offers great filming locations in a variety of styles, for both period and contemporary productions. I wouldn’t hesitate to use Dublin to portray another city.”

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