NI misses boat as Thrones author's new TV project heads south
Northern Ireland may have become inextricably linked to George RR Martin through Game Of Thrones - but it's set to miss out on the next small screen adaptation of his novels as production heads south.
Limerick appears poised to be the next part of Ireland to win big thanks to Martin's imagination with rumours that it has been selected as the location for another American TV series based on one of his books.
Northern Ireland is already enjoying a major Games Of Thrones dividend, with the HBO series estimated to have brought more than £150m into the economy since production began in 2010.
But Limerick looks like it will reap the benefits this time, and an official announcement on the deal is expected within weeks.
It's rumoured that the city's Troy Studios has been selected for the production of Martin's 1980 novella Nightflyers.
However, it doesn't look as if this will be a Games Of Thrones spin-off - instead it will be an adaptation of a sci-fi drama set in space where nine people embark on an ill-fated journey to save the Earth from destruction.
The Troy Studios site is located at the former Dell factory in Castletroy, at 340,000sq ft now Ireland's largest production facility.
"This is a major boost for the industry in Ireland and the midwest in particular," said a source.
"It will be huge for local hotels and pubs who will obviously benefit from the influx of cast and crew from the UK and the US."
NI Screen refused to comment on whether Northern Ireland was in the running as a location for the series, saying the industry does not work like that. A spokesman said: "NI Screen has worked tirelessly to develop the screen industry in Northern Ireland."
Shooting on the new series is expected to begin before the end of this year.
It is believed that Martin will not work directly on the project due to an exclusivity agreement he signed with cable TV firm HBO, which brought his epic saga A Song Of Ice And Fire to the small screen as Game Of Thrones.
However, acclaimed director Doug Liman will add some star power to the line-up. He launched the wildly successful Jason Bourne spy series with The Bourne Identity, Mr And Mrs Smyth starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and the Tom Cruise blockbuster Edge Of Tomorrow.
Nightflyers is a 23,000-word novella originally written in 1980 and later expanded into a 30,000-word piece.
The book is set in the same Thousand Worlds universe as some of Martin's other works, including Sandkings, A Song For Lya, The Way Of Cross And Dragon, and Dying Of The Light.
This adaptation is penned by Jeff Buhler (Jacob's Ladder) and is set in the future on the eve of Earth's destruction.
In hope of making contact with alien life, eight scientists and a powerful 'telepath' embark on an expedition to the edge of the solar system aboard the Nightflyer, a ship with a small crew and a reclusive captain.
When terrifying events begin to take place, those living on the craft start to question one another - and surviving the mission turns out to be more difficult than anyone had imagined.