A COBH teenager has bagged himself a role in a new big-budget feature film which is due to begin shooting next month in Killarney.
The feature film – to be titled The Kingdom – will be followed by a five episode television series and will be shot in the historic Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms.
The film will centre on the Herbert family – who owned the property – as well as the visit of Queen Victoria to Killarney in 1861.
Michael Keane (16) from Rushbrooke Links in Cobh will play the part of ‘Puck’ a young worker from local farm tenements in the stately house.
Speaking to The Echo, Michael said he is honoured to have been given the opportunity.
“It’s really exciting to be part of a production set in the 19th century and to be starring alongside an amazing cast. I’m really honoured to be a part of it,” he said.
“I was approached for the role.
“I worked closely with someone who knew Damian O’Callaghan [the director] and I got to meet him.
“We were chatting and he was telling me about the character. He gave me a shot and I got it.”
Michael joins a slew of famous faces starring in the production including Patrick Bergin who featured alongside Julia Roberts in Sleeping with the Enemy and actor Paul Ronan, the father of Saoirse Ronan.
Michael, who is a fifth-year student at Rochestown College, said news of his role has created great excitement at school.
“Everyone is just so thrilled. I signed the contracts only last week and had to sign the non-disclosure and all of that so I can’t really discuss it too much but everyone is delighted for me.
“It’s the big news at the school at the moment,” he laughed.
Shooting for the new film is set to commence on October 5 and whilst Michael will have to miss some school, he is determined to catch up when he is off set.
“I have to miss some school but I’ll be able to work remotely from my hotel room when I’m not on set,” he said.
An established filmmaker, Michael has previously won the Audience Choice Award for his film Final Shot at this year’s Fresh International Film Festival and most recently attracted the attention of Amazon Prime for his short film, Covid Éire.
The Cobh native has also been honing his craft as an actor over the past year.
“I’ve being going to ActorsVision, which is a Cork-based school for acting for the past year now and I’ve been training in different modules teaching voice techniques, how to break down scripts, preparation for camera and everything like that.
“I’d like to focus more on acting but filmmaking is definitely something I’ll continue to do on the side.
“It’s through filmmaking that I discovered acting,” he said.
Michael won’t be the only Corkonian on the set of The Kingdom as the production is being directed by Mayfield native Damian O’Callaghan, who now lives in Killarney.
“I’m a very proud Cork man.
“I’ve been in Killarney 25 years now but I still regularly come back to visit,” said Mr O’Callaghan, who added that he was excited to commence shooting next month.
“It’s great news for Cork and it’s great news for Ireland as a whole.
“There’s great artistic talent in the country,” he said.
This will be Mr O’Callaghan’s third feature movie following on from the success of The Gift and Tradition.
The Kingdom is written by Dublin-based Luke Corcoran and the project is being spearheaded by independent film company OC Productions in collaboration with Bluebox Productions.
BBC and RTÉ are currently in advanced negotiations to carry the movie and series.