Northern Ireland Screen has announced that US giant HBO has signed local director Brian Kirk to helm two episodes of upcoming fantasy series Game of Thrones.
Armagh man Kirk has previously directed episodes of Showtime's Dexter and Brotherhood as well as feature film Middletown. Based on the series of books by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones is an epic struggle for power set in a vast and violent fantasy kingdom. The series will shoot on a huge set in the Paint Hall Studio, as well as various locations in Northern Ireland. Production will begin in July and is expected to last until the end of the year. Coleraine Actress Michelle Fairley was recently cast in the role of Catelyn Stark, wife of Eddard Stark who is played by Sean Bean. Northern Ireland's Mark Huffam is producing the series, with funding provided by Northern Ireland Screen supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The series is due to air in 2011 and excitement is already growing among its huge fan-base. HBO aired a teaser trailer of Game of Thrones on Sunday night before the launch of the third series of smash hit True Blood. Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen said: "We have always sought to nurture local talent and support our indigenous film-makers, we hope that more announcements for local talent will follow the great news of Brian and Michelle's involvement. "Game of Thrones is said to be one of the largest television series ever to shoot in Europe and so will provide a great deal of experience for many local cast and crew. It is also excellent to see the wealth of stunning locations on the teaser trailer, Tollymore Forest Park has never looked so good!" View the teaser at: www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones (BMcN)