The fourth instalment in the Astérix franchise, ‘Astérix and Obélix: God Save Britannia’ is set to film scenes on location in Ireland this summer.
The Irish Film Board confirmed today the production, with an estimated €50 million budget, is expected to land on Irish soil during August/September with an approx. 4-5 week shoot in the works.
Co-written and directed by Laurent Tirard (Little Nicholas), the French language film will see actors Edouard Baer (Molière) and Gérard Depardieu (Cyrano de Bergerac) play the title characters Astérix and Obélix respectively with Fabrice Luchini (Molière) confirmed to take on the role of Julius Caesar and Catherine Deneuve (Indochine) starring as Queen of England. Co-written by Gregoire Vigneron the film is a broad adaptation of Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's original 1966 comicbook ‘Asterix in Britain’.
Companies behind the project are Paris-based Fidelite Films, Marc Missonnier and Olivier Delbosc producing, and Ireland’s Octagon Films with Irish producer James Flynn leading the film’s Irish arm of the production. Octagon and Fidelite have previously collaborated on the 2008 project ‘Dorothy Mills’ and the more recent production ‘Hideaways’ 2011. Speaking to IFTN today, James Flynn said "apart from investment in television drama which contributes to Ireland being a market leader in Europe for high-end U.S network drama, we must also remember that the 481 incentive remains one of the most attractive in world for feature films. In this regard, we are delighted to that Asterix will shoot part of its production here in August and September."
Irish locations to be used include Co. Wicklow’s Brittas Bay, Luggala and Childers Wood (Annamoe) and Louth’s Listoke Gardens is also expected to see some Astérix action. Location scouts are considering options on the West Coast of Ireland and further scenes for the 3D live action film will be shot on locations across Malta and Hungary as the production travels through six months of filming around Europe. Astérix will also be the very first 3D live action feature to be filmed in Ireland.
Commenting about ‘Astérix and Obélix’s impending arrival to Ireland Naoise Barry Film Commissioner at the Irish Film Board described Ireland as a “go-to destination” in Europe for large international feature and television production with its Section 481 financial incentives and film locations. “Filmmakers like working in Ireland because we have a wide variety of urban and rural film locations within a very small geographic area,” he says. “In London, Paris or New York you need to travel for 6 hours if you want to shoot rural and urban settings in the same day.”
‘Astérix and Obélix: God Save Britannia’ joins titles such as ‘The Tudors’, ‘This Must Be the Place’, ‘Camelot’ and Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Haywire’ among the long list of international co-productions recently filming in the Republic attracting €100m of foreign film and television production in 2010 alone.