Belturbet filmmaker Kevin McCann has just announced the casting of Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Padraig Pearse and Fiona Shaw as Countess Markievicz in their feature moving 'The Rising' to be released next year as part of the centenary celebrations.
He told the Celt today: "It’s an exciting time as we launch the rebranding of the movie this weekend in the closing days of pre-production."
The team behind upcoming 1916 movie, set to be filmed at locations across the Border region, was in London in recent weeks selecting a studio distributor to take the film forward.
The latest step in the pre-production process, producer McCann of Belturbet-based Macanna Teoranta has returned to Europe to seal the deal following the conclusion of a successful six-city US tour, during which the historical drama garnered backing from international investors.
It follows the recent announcements of the involvement of screen stars Brendan Coyle from Downton Abbey, who will take on the role of British politician Augustine Birrell and Scottish actor David O’Hara, who will play James Connolly.
Michael Neeson will, meanwhile, follow in his father’s footsteps by taking on the role of Michael Collins with Colin Morgan cast as Sean MacDiarmada, the Leitrim-born revolutionary around whom the events of 'The Rising’ film are centred.
“Distribution is a key aspect to any film,” McCann explains. “We should be in a position to announce that side of things in the coming weeks.
“Things are very much on track. The team and myself are very confident about the film and where we are with it.”
The Irish Film Board has, thus, far allocated a development fund of €14,200, while Northern Ireland Screen also provided partial funding, with an online Kickstarter campaign bringing in more than €45,000 from 35 countries.
“We need people to get behind this project. We’re making history here. I’ve known it since the day I started researching in 2012. Other countries and cultures rightly celebrate their heroes in cinema over and over again. Can you imagine Americans not wanting to talk about 1776?
“What is most pleasing is the script itself has been received positively. Other 1916 scripts had been bandied about for years and one of the reasons they didn’t get made is because the support wasn’t there. When you get people like David O’Hara and Liam Neeson, the likes of Fiona Shaw reading your script and saying they love it, you’ve achieved something, and you at least hope you’re on the right track,” he says.