I’m not quite sure how it happened and I’m a bit astounded that it has been so successful. Be that as it may, the Irish film industry is alive and kicking. As far as I can recall it started with big John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara back in 1952? Now ‘The Quiet Man’ is well and truly dead.
The old ‘Hollywood-Oirish’ image of a beautiful green island with people frolicking in the rolling hills alongside little green elves has been replaced. Now it’s of huge battlefields in ‘BraveHearts’ and ‘Saving private Ryan’s’ with gritty police dramas and fantasy worlds the order of the day.
A certain population of the world is hooked on the mighty fantasy series ‘Game of Thrones’. I would be one of those hooked. The fact that it is filmed and produced in state-of-the-art film studios here in my home town of Belfast just made my intrigue grow to unbearable proportions. I had to be a part of it!
So it was done. I found myself an agent and after one day’s filming on hit series ‘The Fall’ with Gillian Anderson (her of X-Files fame), I got the call for Game of Thrones.
So lets set the scene. Titanic Studios is nestled in the heart of Belfast harbour, right behind the now famous Titanic Building/museum. Recently voted the best tourist attraction in this world.
Sitting in the waste ground that is the car park for the actors and production crews, I watched as the planes took off into the sunrise above the other famous Belfast landmarks – the H & W cranes of the once mighty shipyard.
Behind the factory building the sun blazed low into the cold December morning. Pools of frost added to the spectacle. The old and the new, the derelict and the magnificent framing the skyline.
Alas my time had come and I ventured onward to destiny. With a sword in one hand and bundled up excitement in the other I mingled with the stars for but a few moments. They may never make the big screen but those brief encounters with Hollywood will live long in my memory.
The world’s view of Ireland today has changed.
‘We’ it would seem…are not so ‘wee’ anymore.