herald

Friday 19 December 2014

Hollywood heavyweights fly in for a reel taste of Shakespeare

Hollywood heavyweights Anthony Hopkins, Keira Knightley and Gwyneth Paltrow are coming to Ireland to film a major movie version of Shakespeare's King Lear.

The film is being directed by Michael Stern and he promises more stars are going to be announced for the production which will bring some Hollywood glitz to the country.

The film will not be a modern adaptation and will remain faithful to the original Shakespearian language.

Hopkins is said to be "thrilled" to return to a role which won him great acclaim as a stage actor in the late 1980s.

This is just the latest in a long line of big name Hollywood films being brought to Ireland for filming.

Poached

Recently, the Scottish film industry complained that Ireland had poached big name film Mary Queen of Scots starring Scarlett Johansson.

The Irish Film Board had offered army personnel coupled with lucrative tax breaks to entice the film to Ireland and it is expected to begin filming later in the year.

The film's director, Phillip Noyce, tried to alleviate Scottish fears by saying that it will be shot in Scotland also.

But it is understood that the film will shoot for six to seven weeks in Ireland and in Scotland for three.

Ireland has a history of attracting Hollywood films to our shores with the promise of tax breaks and Irish army personnel more than willing to help with battle scenes.

King Arthur, five years ago, also starring Keira Knightley was the last big-name film to be shot here.

A replica of a section of Hadrian's Wall was the largest film set ever built in Ireland, and was located in a field in Co Kildare.

The English actress starred as Guinevere in the controversial retelling of the Arthurian legend.

But this is not the only Irish connection for the London beauty.

She used to date Irish model Jamie Dornan.

She shot to fame in English film Bend it Like Beckham and since then Hollywood blockbusters have become the norm.

Her versatility extends to blockbusters such as King Arthur and most famously Pirates of the Caribbean but she has also achieved an academy award nomination for her part in the Jane Austen adaptation Pride and Prejudice.

Other big-name stars have seen Ireland as the place to stage their rural, historical dramas.

Perhaps most famously, the D-Day landings in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster Saving Private Ryan were filmed here with Irish soldiers acting as extras.

Another successful film to take advantage of our scenery was Mel Gibson's Braveheart..

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