A cinema city on Dublin Bay: shot in dark or shooting for the stars?
‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Vikings’ are already made in Ireland. New film studios, including one planned for Poolbeg, hope to capitalise on that TV-drama boom
Game of Thrones: the HBO series is made at Titanic Studios in Belfast. Photograph: Helen Sloan/HBO
La La Land: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone look behind the scenes. Photograph: Dale Robinette/Lionsgate
Dancing with the Stars: the RTÉ show is filmed at Ardmore Studios, in Co Wicklow. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
A heady sequence in this year’s Oscar favourite La La Land has the lovers played by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling strolling across the bustling Warner Bros backlot, past camera crews and actors, and stopping to stare at “the window that Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman looked out of in Casablanca”. It’s a vision of the film studio as dream factory, a location of fun and glamour, where ambitions are achieved and show-business history is made, harking back to other great behind-the-scenes movies, such as Singin’ in the Rain.
The reality is more prosaic. Most studios are large, windowless sheds that don’t look very different from any other light-industrial factory buildings. But it’s what goes on behind those walls – Stars! Spaceships! Dragons! – that continues to exert a fascination, which may explain why there’s such interest in plans to significantly increase their number in Ireland.