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Game of Thrones spin-off to begin filming in Northern Ireland this autumn

Boost for NI economy as Game of Thrones spin-off to be filmed here

By Ciaran Barnes

Filming on the new Game of Thrones spin-off will begin in Northern Ireland in the autumn after location shoots in the Canary Islands.

The Long Night prequel is set 1,000 years before the original worldwide smash TV series and will star Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts, of King Kong fame, in the lead role.

Staff at the Paint Hall studios in Belfast - the main set location for Game of Thrones - have been told to prepare to fly out to Spain to work on the new spin-off.

An industry source told Sunday Life: "We will be shooting on location in Tenerife and Las Palmas throughout the spring. After that, we will be coming back to Belfast for production work in the Paint Hall.

"It's great news for everyone involved in the film industry in Northern Ireland - if the Long Night is even half as successful as Game of Thrones, it will pump millions of pounds into the local economy."

Games of Thrones, which first started filming in Northern Ireland in 2010, has been our biggest tourist attraction since the Titanic.

The Paint Hall in Belfast was its main studio, with other filming locations including the famous Dark Hedges near Ballycastle, Ballintoy Harbour on the north Antrim coast and Shillanavogy Valley, near Slemish in Co Antrim.

Due to the success of the show, these spots have become international tourist destinations, with fans flocking to see them in record numbers.

The final series of Game of Thrones is due to air later this year, with each of its six feature-length episodes shot in Northern Ireland costing a staggering $15million.

Staff at the Paint Hall studios have been informed that after filming on prequel The Long Night ends, they will be working on a Star Wars spin-off.

Its creator, George Lucas, visited Belfast 14 months ago to check out locations. The movie mogul was pictured eating out in swanky local restaurant Noble during his short visit, which also took in a guided tour of the Paint Hall.

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