Brendan Gleeson has joined Irish comedy thriller The Guard, which is written and directed by Ned Kelly writer John Michael McDonagh. Shooting has already begun in the west of Ireland.

Gleeson plays an unorthodox Irish policeman who joins forces with a straitlaced FBI agent, played by Don Cheadle, to take on an international drug-smuggling gang. The cast also includes Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham, Fionnuala Flanagan, David Wilmot, Rory Keenan and newcomer Katarina Cas. 

It is being produced by Chris Clark and Flora Fernandez Marengo for Reprisal Films and Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe for Element Pictures.

Martin McDonagh, Lenore Zerman, Tim Smith, Paul Brett, Ralph Kamp, David Nash and Cheadle are executive producing.

The project is being backed by Prescience, Aegis Film Fund, the UK Film Council and Crescendo Productions. It has also received support from the Irish Film Board.

International sales are being handled by Metropolis Films and the film will be released by Optimum Releasing in the United Kingdom and Element Pictures Distribution in Ireland.