Irish director Ian Fitzgibbon is stamping his feet. He’s not having a tantrum, he’s trying to keep warm. Cillian Murphy, however, is having a hissy fit. Having run to his car in a bid to make a quick getaway, he discovers the clampers have gotten there first. As the cameras roll, he gives the front wheel a good kick.
It is a cold December morning on the set of Perrier’s Bounty, a comedy thriller about three fugitives on the run from gangster Perrier (Brendan Gleeson) who is hell-bent on revenge after the accidental killing of one of his loyal gang. Murphy, Jodie Whittaker and Jim Broadbent star as the fugitives.
UK and Irish rights to Perrier’s Bounty have been licensed to Optimum Releasing, while international sales are being handled by HanWay Films.
Alan Moloney,Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley produced the film. Moloney, whose credits include Intermission and The Escapist, became involved with the project due to Mark O’Rowe’s script.
‘Mark had a contemporary western in mind,’ says Moloney. ‘It’s not a western in its construction or convention but its entire storytelling has a western sensibility. It’s got a posse and a reward so all the elements are there.’
Fitzgibbon became involved in the project two years ago. He had worked as an actor and had directed some TV programmes for Moloney’s company Parallel Film Productions. However, as he had very little experience of film directing, the pair decided to make a small novelty project called A Film With Me In It, starring Dylan Moran. ‘Ian needed to get into the saddle,’ is how Moloney puts it. Fitzgibbon went on to win best director for the film at the 2009 Irish Film and TV Awards.
Shooting on Perrier’s Bounty took place in Dublin and London over six weeks. Back in November, Moloney observed: ‘There’s not a lot of wiggle room but to be fair they haven’t dropped a shot and we’ve only got two weeks to go. We should get out alive.’ The film wrapped before Christmas. Delivery is set for late summer.
Raising the $6.6m (EUR5.2m) budget was more difficult. Moloney says: ‘You know when you’re a kid and you’ve a jigsaw and the bits won’t fit so you get some scissors and cut two bits off’ That’s what it was like all the time. I constantly had the scissors out.’
Moloney credits the quality of the package. ‘There were enough elements of value coming together to get it made.’ He stresses the importance of identifying these elements and then being able to manage them. He also believes producers need to be tenacious. ‘It’s difficult to lift the phone to someone you’ve never met and try and sell them a package. They’re naturally suspicious. You can’t sit back, you have to go after it.’
Woolley says they faced a number of obstacles along the way. The UK Film Council (UKFC) had co-developed the script with the Irish Film Board, and Woolley had hoped for some UKFC funding - but the Council decided the project was not for them.
In the end, the producers received 24% of the budget from the Irish Film Board with an additional 24% coming from the Limelight film fund, which provided gap financing. The remainder came from Parallel Film Productions, Number 9 Films and Premiere Picture. The producers also took advantage of Ireland’s Section 481 and the UK tax credit.
In terms of locations, the project also faced a few hitches. The film-makers shot in Dublin and Louth in Ireland, and had planned to shoot parts in Belfast but ultimately switched to London. Woolley now believes it worked out for the best.
Casting also saw some problems: the film-makers had earmarked Murphy but at the time he was unavailable. James McAvoy was offered the role but pulled out - just as Murphy had a window.
‘Financing is all about casting and it always has been,’ says Woolley. ‘The game is such that nobody wants to put up any money unless you get your star attached. Suddenly Cillian was free so we had to work, lickety-split.’