By Paddy Mulchrone
WEST Cork’s Hollywood heritage has brought two more production companies to the region.
The filming of a murder mystery in Crookhaven is a positively cosmopolitan affair – it’s a tale written by an American author, about an English detective, set in a UK seaside town, being made in Ireland, by a German broadcaster.
That’s why an iconic red telephone box popped up in the village recently and the two local pubs – O’Sullivan’s and The Crookhaven Inn – were transformed into The Old Fox Deceiv’d and The Rackmoor Coffee Pot.
Filming is also an economic shot in the arm for the area at the end of the tourist season, with dozens of cast and production staff taking hotel, B&B and house bookings for two weeks.
The Old Fox Deceiv’d – also the film title – is the latest in a series of Inspector Jury crime thrillers by best-selling US author Martha Grimes to become a German TV movie.
It’s set for broadcast in Germany and Austria next year, with the Irish actors’ voices dubbed into German.
Grimes has written 23 murder mysteries – all named after pubs – featuring hero cop Insp Richard Jury of Scotland Yard and his sidekick Melrose Plant.
This current storyline centres on a girl’s return to the English seaside village of ‘Rackmoor’, to convince a local aristocrat she is his long lost ward who left town years earlier.
She is found dead in mysterious circumstances and the inspector’s investigation unearths long-buried family secrets and village resentment.
As holidaymakers left Crookhaven in August, set-builders moved into the village to prepare for filming. A quayside store was cleared and transformed into a village dressmaker’s cabin, and O’Sullivan’s suddenly sprouted ‘olde worlde’ frames on its big picture windows.
There are 55 crew members working on the production, and 22 actors with speaking parts – 15 from Ireland and seven from Germany and Austria.
Filming comes hot on the heels of George Lucas’s Star Wars crew, who spent six weeks last summer creating a spectacular stunt at nearby Brow Head for the latest film, to be released this winter. In recent years, the movies The War of the Buttons (1994), The Runway (2010) and The Young Offenders (2016) have all featured scenes filmed in the area.
Publican Dermot O’Sullivan welcomed the temporary transformation of his famous pub and the boost for local businesses. ‘We first heard a film crew was coming to town in the summer, which we took with a pinch of salt. Then a location manager turned up asking if they could use the outside of the pub and we said “of course”. Then they wanted to alter it to their needs and we were happy to accommodate them. It’s good for the village and the business it brings with it for all the people around here.’
Filming also took place at Brow Head, Three Castles Head and Schull, following further location shoots in Dublin and Wicklow. Producer Dirk Eggar told The Southern Star: “We are here for the wonderful locations West Cork offers. I was first told about the area by the Irish Film Board some years ago. Tax breaks are a bonus, but the locations are the thing. This part of the world is so beautiful and reflects exactly what we want.
We’re not filming in Ireland because it’s cheap – it’s expensive – but the tax credit makes it possible.’
Meanwhile, filming has also started on the 60s/70s drama Float Like a Butterfly between Skibbereen and Goleen, which will last for five weeks.
Written by Fastnet Film Festival patron and local film maker Carmel Winters, it is also supported by the film festival and the Irish Film Board. Co-producer Cathleen Dore said she has been overwhelmed by the patience and generosity of the local community and would like to express her gratitude.