Brendan Gleeson’s A-list period drama gets further cast and co-production support.

Brendan Gleeson’s long-gestating period drama At-Swim-Two-Birds is getting closer to production, likely to start shooting in spring 2012.

Gleeson, who will direct and play the role of the uncle in his own adaptation of Flann O’Brien’s acclaimed 1939 novel, told Screen at the Galway Film Fleadh that while funding was still coming together on the project he had a new commitment to the film from Michael Fassbender along with already announced stars Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Gleeson’s son, rising star Domhnall.

Gleeson’s passion project, co-produced with Alan Moloney’s Parallel Films, has also newly received backing from Luxembourg producer Jani Thiltes and the Film Fund Luxembourg.

The story follows a teenage student who populates his creative writing with important characters from his own life.

The film is something of a passion-project for Gleeson who acquired the rights to the film seven years ago and has been working on it seriously for four years.

John Michael McDonagh’s locally shot comedy-thriller The Guard, starring Gleeson, made its Irish debut on Wednesday night at the Fleadh.

Commenting on the local response to the film (being released in Ireland by Element and in the UK by Optimum), Gleeson said: “You could really feel the buzz. It’s gone down very well. And it looks like it’s going to have traction. The numbers are already good.”