Irish Eye on Hollywood: Colfer’s Fiction Soon to Become a Small-Screen Reality

Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer and Kenneth Branagh, who is directing the film adaptation.

By Tom Deignan, Columnist
March / April 2020

Memorial Day is going to feel more like a sequel to St. Patrick’s Day when the sci-fi fantasy flick Artemis Fowl – with loads of Irish talent in front of and behind the camera – kicks off the summer blockbuster season.

Let’s start with the author of the book series on which the Harry Potter-esque film is based. That would be Wexford native Eoin Colfer, whose Fowl books have earned him legions of loyal fans. Then there is the director and producer who – after the film languished for several years in Hollywood’s infamous “development hell” – finally got the Fowl-ian universe to the big-screen. That would be Belfast-born legend Kenneth Branagh. And the screenwriter who translated Colfer’s pages to words in a Hollywood script? That would be none other than acclaimed Irish playwright Conor McPherson.

The title character, meanwhile, is played by a young Irish actor named Ferdia Shaw, who was selected following over 1,000 auditions for the part. Reports on the internet (for whatever that’s worth) indicate that young Mr. Shaw is grandson to legendary Hollywood actor Robert Shaw (Jaws). A host of other young Irish actors also appear in the film, alongside the great British actress Judi Dench.

In October, Kenneth Branagh directs – and stars! – in another gigantic production, this a new Hercule Poirot thriller, following up his previous film as Agatha Christie’s beloved sleuth, Murder on the Orient Express. This time around, Branagh stars in Death on the Nile, alongside (deep breath here) Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Armie Hammer, and Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot. Presumably to relax, Branagh will also appear – in a mere supporting role – in Christopher Nolan’s much-awaited summer flick Tenet

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