sundaylife

| 9.4°C Belfast

sundaylife

The Northman: Viking movie starring Nicole Kidman forced to abandon filming on NI's north coast over coronavirus fears

Shooting was set to start at Torr's Head

Close

Nicole Kidman (Matt Crossick/PA)

Nicole Kidman (Matt Crossick/PA)

Nicole Kidman (Matt Crossick/PA)

Hollywood star Nicole Kidman has been forced to abandon filming on a new blockbuster movie in Northern Ireland due to fears over the deadly coronavirus.

The Aussie megastar had been due to start shooting Viking revenge flick The Northman at Belfast Harbour Studios this spring.

Preparations for filming were underway in Ballycastle and other locations across the province in February.

However, Sunday Life can now exclusively reveal production has been suspended for six weeks.

An industry source said: "We got the news towards the end of last week and obviously it's not ideal, a lot of the industry is made up of freelancers who rely on these contracts.

"Having said that, nobody wants to put themselves or other people at risk and most of us are just hoping to weather the storm and get back to work in a few weeks' time.

"It's a shame as everyone was really excited about working with Nicole and the rest of the cast and crew but fingers crossed it's just a delay and not a cancellation."

The Northman, set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century, is also expected to star brothers Alexander and Bill Skarsgard and Emma actress Anya Taylor-Joy.

Close

Alexander and Bill Skarsgård who star in The Northman

Alexander and Bill Skarsgård who star in The Northman

Alexander and Bill Skarsgård who star in The Northman

Director Robert Eggers, whose film The Lighthouse was in cinemas earlier this year, is also being reunited with actor Willem Dafoe.

A film set had already been built in the scenic and remote location of Torr Head, which was closed off to the public.

Eggers had been living in Northern Ireland in preparation for the film which was expected to be shot over 19 weeks.

A spokesman for Northern Ireland Screen said: "The Northman, based at Belfast Harbour Studios, has gone on a six-week hiatus due to the current concerns with coronavirus.

"Depending on how the situation develops that hiatus could get shorter or longer but the producers fully intend to make the film."

The Northman is the latest in a series of productions to come to Northern Ireland following the runaway success of Game Of Thrones which was filmed here between 2011 and 2019.

It isn't the only film Nicole Kidman has had to postpone filming on as Covid-19 sweeps across the globe. Netflix have also suspended work on upcoming musical comedy The Prom which she was due to star in alongside Meryl Streep.

The Ryan Murphy movie is just the latest Hollywood casualty as the film industry moves to combat the virus.

The releases of new Bond flick No Time To Die, Fast and Furious sequel F9 and horror film A Quiet Place Part II have all been put back.

Elsewhere, despite the suspension of The Northman movie, popular cop drama Line Of Duty is still filming for series six in Belfast. Crew members shared a cheeky filming slate last week reminding cast and staff to keep washing their hands as the adventures of AC-12 continue.

Series six of the show starring Adrian Dunbar and Martin Compston is due for release next spring.

Belfast Telegraph