Filming to begin next week as big time Hollywood composer confirms participation
THE town of Westport is a step closer to becoming the main star in an innovative online drama/soap as auditions to cast the main roles in the production were deemed to be a great success last week.
Auditions took place in Westport and Dublin, with over one hundred actors attending including talented performers including singers, dancers and poets.
The online soap is the brainchild of Westport resident and well known scriptwriter Len Collin, who told The Mayo News on Monday that casting was still ongoing but some of the main roles had already been filled.
“We can confirm that Sarah Carroll is playing the lead role of Bridie and local actor Donal O’Meachair is playing the lead role of Patrick.
“Other Westport notables with confirmed roles include Paul O’Brien, Paddy Guthrie, Maya Petrovic, Fiona Kennedy, Aoife Carr, Paul Dunning and another with Westport connections is Annette Flynn.
Len went on to confirm that Brian Durcan, David Sneddon and Daniel McManaman will be in charge behind the cameras.
“It’s great to have the three lads on board and also Ian Boyle from Achill, who mostly turns his camera on our nation’s politicians for Oireachtas Report, is only to willing to help out.”
Len said the whole operation was beginning to take shape with Anna Ryder heading up the wardrobe and design department with Ian Coffey while Rob Coakley from Newport has taken on the role of Production Manager.
However, Len admits The big coup which has developed over the last week is the fact that the project have managed to land the services of composer Joseph Conlan.
“Joseph lives in LA and he has worked on many Hollywood productions, films and TV shows, including the popular NCIS. He’s a great guy with Irish connections and he’s working on the same basis as the rest of us, gratis.”
Talking more about the auditions, Len went on to say here is no doubt that the Westport auditions matched Dublin for ‘artistic talent, passion and enthusiasm’.
“We had one lady, Adelle O’Malley, park her horse outside the Castlecourt. She had driven from Enniskillen to get to us. It was worth it too as she was very good. Indeed the whole family were talented as I think her sisters were in just before her and we’re hoping to use them all if we can. The problem we have had is not finding people to use, but rather turning people away. If we get to do a second season, we have a rake of actors to choose from.”
So it’s onwards and upwards for ‘Covies’ as shooting is set to begin on August 30 and will last until September 20.
“The scripts are finished although I’m polishing the last episode – or Webisode as they’ve been christened. Now the really hard work begins. There is so much to organise. There’s accommodation for the actors that don’t live in Westport, for example. We have two coming over from London, nine from Dublin and one from Galway.
“Joe Corcoran from the Castlecourt Hotel has been very helpful in that regard. The rest of the actors are all local and the cast is now approaching forty. We now have to source props, costumes, equipment, etc. Already we’ve had offers of a pig, a coffin and a hearse. We need Garda uniforms, a wedding dress, priests clothes, The list keeps growing. We’re getting lots of offers from transport people who are willing to drive for us, and others who are willing to become runners and scene shifters. We’re looking for a caravan to use when filming in the more remote locations. People have to be fed, which means catering might be something that someone can help us with. We also need a church, graveyard, remote cottage, betting shop and we hope to get permission to film at Knock airport.”
Len went on to say that local goodwill for the project has been immense.
“There have also been private donations to the fund, one anonymous donor contributed a thousand euro, which is incredible, if that person wishes to make themselves known we would like to give them a thank you credit.”
As with all large productions, cost is an overriding factor but Len remains upbeat.
“Cash flow is a problem, but the amazing thing is the way people are coming together for this project. I honestly and truly think that this could only happen in Ireland. Possibly only in the west. Maybe only in Westport itself. This is a town pulling together for the greater good. It’s like we are all in this together and it’s a juggernaut there’s no stopping it now. Word is spreading. I think there’s one other thing I would like to ask the people of Westport to do. Pray for good weather. We need the sun to come out when we’re filming. If that happens then we’ll know that God is smiling down on our town and giving a big thumbs up to Covies.”