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Cast of vampires sink teeth into filming on Irish shores

Waterfalls of blood, female vampires and a terrifying ancient secret have transformed a quiet Irish community.

Castletownbere, Adrigole and Allihies in west Cork are rivalling Hollywood this week as filming begins on Neil Jordan's latest work, the vampire epic 'Byzantium'.

Featuring Bond girl Gemma Arterton, Irish star Saoirse Ronan and 'Trainspotting' actor Johnny Lee Miller, the film has captured the imagination of locals -- with a great response yesterday to a casting call for 'extras'.

Sisters Rebecca and Samantha Sullivan from Eyries admitted they were thrilled to attend the casting auditions.

"It was the first time we'd ever gone to anything like a film audition. We didn't know what to expect but it was a really great experience," they told the Irish Independent.

Other locals were simply hoping to get the chance to meet some of the stars.

The Beara peninsula is to provide some of the most haunting scenes for the film, which is also being shot on location in Dublin and in Hastings in the UK.

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Workers have been constructing special sets in Castletownbere and Adrigole for the past fortnight and filming is expected to be completed within the next month.

The most high-profile local scene will involve an isolated waterfall on the aptly named Hungry Hill, above Castletownbere, being dyed red so it resembles a torrent of fresh blood.

Trials of the environmentally friendly red dye were conducted yesterday and the scene is expected to be filmed by next weekend.

Ms Ronan has already completed her limited filming schedule in west Cork, though the major scenes involving other cast members will be shot over the next fortnight.

The entire cast -- with the exception of Ms Ronan -- will be in west Cork for the next few weeks.

'Byzantium' is based on a play by Moira Buffini, whose previous credits include the screenplays 'Jane Eyre' and 'Tamara Drewe'.

It tells the story of mother (Ms Arterton) and daughter (Ms Ronan) vampires who struggle to come to terms with immortality after meeting a young man battling cancer.

The film is scheduled for release in mid-2013 and is already being tipped to rival the blockbuster 'Twilight' saga at the box office.

'Byzantium' also features Sam Riley, Tom Hollander and Caleb Landry Jones.

Locals paid glowing tribute to Neil Jordan -- who has had a holiday home, Waterfall House, on the Beara Peninsula for over a decade -- for his staunch support for the area.

'Byzantium' is the second film the award-winning director has brought to west Cork, having filmed 'Ondine' with Colin Farrell outside Castletownbere four years ago.

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