NEWS: Asterix Film To Be Filmed In Clare Within Weeks
ICN teased several weeks ago the possibility of the new Asterix film being filmed in part in Clare. That rumour has now been confirmed as fact with the news that the fourth film in the franchise starring Gérard Depardieu as Obelix and Edouard Baer as Asterix will start filming in Clare. A scouting team arrived in Ennis during the late Spring to view several locations are were reportedly so impressed that West Clare will now double for England. With a production budget of around €50 million, this is a huge deal for the local economy and a pretty cool thing for comic heads in the area as Clare will be abuzz over late August and September of the arrival of the legendary French character. This weeks Clare Champion newspaper goes into detail below written by Nicola Corless:
A production company working on a €50 million film starring Gérard Depardieu is looking for as many as 200 Clare men to join the British, Roman and Norman armies this summer.
The North Clare landscape will form the backdrop for scenes in the fourth of the Asterix & Obelix series, God Save Brittania.
Water scenes were filmed off the Maltese coast, indoor scenes were filmed in Hungary and all the movie’s exterior shots are being filmed in Ireland.
“The production companies opted for Clare because of the unique landscape and the Burren. It is the pieces of the Burren between Doolin and Fanore that are really something quite unique. They loved it and the karst landscape here. Except for the road going through it, which gives us access, the landscape hasn’t changed in hundreds of years,” Manus Hingerty, locations manager on the project, told The Clare Champion.
Filming, which takes place in early September, will see 150 cast and crew members descend on Doolin and Lisdoonvarna, where up to 200 locals will form the ranks of disputing nations in Roman times. “A lot of money will be spent locally. We are all staying locally and what people forget is the spin-off. We will be buying everything from coffee to newspapers to petrol locally. The cast, which is made up of about 50% Irish and 50% French people, will be in the Burren for two weekends, the one before we start filming and the one in the middle of filming,” Mr Hingerty outlined.
“There will also be a lot of exposure for Clare on the French market. This is the fourth of the Asterix & Obelix movies and they are hugely successful. There is a big budget being invested in this project. I am not saying Clare will be swamped with French tourists but it will have an impact,” Mr Hingerty added.
Filming will mean that the R477 Coast Road from Ballinalacken Castle to south of Fanore village will be closed on Wednesday, August 31 until Friday, September 2 and Monday, September 5 until Friday, September 9 from 7am until 9pm.
“We are very keen that everyone knows we are closing the road. We are very conscious that it has been a bad tourist season and that there have been some signage issues in the county and we want to avoid causing any confusion or difficulties. The film is being shot in 3D and there is a huge amount of gear being used, so for safety reasons we have had to close the road. However, anyone with any queries regarding the road closures or matters arising from it or from filming, can contact Evelyn O’Neill on 086 8313853. She will liase between the public in Clare and the production company and try to solve any issues that come up,” Mr Hingerty stated.
The companies behind the production are looking for men aged between 18 and 45 to join the cast as paid extras.
“We are really keen to source the extras locally. We are looking for all shapes and sizes because I am trying to divide the extras into three different sets, the Roman army, the British army and Normans. Therefore, I have three briefs for the extras here. The range is males aged 18 to 45 because they are supposed to be active soldiers. I would advise anyone who fits that description, and who has any inclination, to come along to the open castings. They are painless and only take five minutes,” extras co-ordinator on Asterix & Obelix, Ciara Lyons, told The Champion.
“We shoot a photograph, take measurements and collect information. Should the person be suitable, we’ll contact them and tell them how to get involved. There is no experience necessary and it is very enjoyable and very interesting to see how a production operates. It is a good laugh too, so why not give it a go? You might enjoy it,” she continued.