By Steven G. Farrell.
A few years back, I setup a domain for my publishing company, Celtic-Badger (www.celtic-badger.com), with the sole purpose of promoting my books and publications, especially my Mersey Boys novel, screenplay and stage play. I stumbled across Celtic Badger Media Group as I was googling for my own web site. I was tickled to see that these Badgers were independent film-makers and situated in the Counties of Clare and Limerick in the Republic of Ireland. I am extremely proud of my Irish ancestry, and I have had the opportunity to visit Eire three times in the past. I didn’t hesitate to email the new Celtic Badgers with my discovery of their crew, and this started a friendship between Paddy Murphy, director, and myself. However, at first Paddy and his Badger mates thought I was giving them grief for having the same company name as me; his initial response being lukewarm if not downright defensive. I quickly set the record straight by offering to send my Mersey Boys trilogy to him via amazon.com.
I was delighted when my new Irish friend expressed his interest in making a film based upon my works. Two years later, I flew over to Ireland with my colleague and friend, Rachel Cobb, to film two scenes for Paddy’s new script entitled Mersey Boys: A Letter from Al Moran. Paddy, who is the executive producer of the project, had carefully put together a cast for a ten-minute concept film that he hopes to showcase at various film festivals, including The Richard Harris International Film Festival and The Liverpool Film Festival, with the expressed purpose of attracting investors to fund a feature-length film project sometime in 2019. It’s an ambitious scheme that I hope plays out well for both Celtic Badger Media Group of Ireland and Celtic-Badger Publishers of Greenville, South Carolina.
Paddy has assembled a cast of Irish, English and American actors that I think will impress viewers with their talents. Fiach Kunz shall be playing the lead male role of Professor Al Moran of Chicago, Illinois, who goes to Liverpool, England, where one of his students is the rebellious rock and roller John Lennon. The beautiful Jessica Messenger flew over from Manchester, England to play the part of Ginny Browne, Al’s elusive muse. Paddy ordered a special costume direct from London: boots, fur coat and Sixties gear dress. Fiach and Jessica both agreed to be associate producers on the project.
The early Beatles are played by Robert Bourke (John Lennon, Mikey Casey (Paul McCartney) and Ben Collopy (George Harrison). All three of these young actors are Irishmen. The actor who was to portray Peter Best didn’t appear for the filming. Evan Murphy, a member of the Celtic Badger and a talented musician in his own right, had vintage guitars to put into the hands of the three young Irish actors to go along with their Elvis Presley-James Dean retro black leather jacket.
Graham Gill, a roving Englishman and a man who has been killed three times on the HBO television program Vikings, agreed to play Squire Clancy, a Scouse bartender. Clancy served Al and John the first pint they ever shared together. This gave us a solid cast for the project. Courtney McKeon, the casting director for Celtic Badger Media, had put out a cast call, and she handpicked the best candidates for the film.
It was Paddy’s brainchild to have me fly over to Ireland to play the part of Gerard Moran, Al’s nephew from Chicago, who had gone to Loughrea, Galway to bury his uncle. Paddy’s revised screenplay had Al leaving Liverpool after the death of his beloved Ginny, retiring to the wet west of Ireland. Paddy had also included the character of Moira Moran, Gerard’s niece, who had made the trip across the ocean to help to see Al to rest. I had the perfect person to play Moira: my colleague and dear friend of over three years: Rachel Cobb. Professor Cobb not only is beautiful but she has a silky voice, self-discipline and an extensive background in performance. She had just spent the summer of 2017 touring England, Wales and Scotland, so my work buddy had a passport in hand and adventure in her heart. I was delighted when she accepted, but Paddy was skeptical when I made my proposal. However, once he was won over by Rachel’s charm and class, he asked her if he could give her more lines and some more film time. The rocky road to Dublin was smoothed over considerably when they discovered they shared the exact same birthday (date & year). What fun the three of us had tooling around in Paddy’s car!
Paddy, along with a crew of five (Luke O’Doherty, Aaron Walsh, Brian O’Regan and photographer Robbie Milton), filmed Rachel and my two scenes on October 21, 2017. We rolled the cameras twenty-seven times in a five hour shoot inside of the lovely home of Barry Fahy’s parents. Barry is the cinematographer for Celtic Badger Media Films, as well as one of the Associate Producers for A Letter from Al Moran. That day in Loughrea was the best day of my sixty- three years on this planet. For the first time in my life I belted a home run with bases loaded: my first film work, in a movie based upon my creation, filming in my beloved Ireland, and working with two dear friends Paddy and Rachel. Life shall never top that one day. The following week Paddy and his crew connected with the rest of the cast in Wicklow, south of Dublin, where they needed about twelve hours to get in over fifty shoots. Sadly, due to scheduling conflicts, Rachel and I had to do our shooting a week earlier.
Mersey Boys: A Letter from Al Moran is divided into in to three scenes. The first and third parts are very short: roughly one minute; each serving as bookends for the eight-minute second scene. Gerard and Moira discover a letter by their Uncle claims he met John Lennon and the Silver Beatles in a Liverpool Pub, circa 1960. They also discover something else that proves Al was making it all up.
Mersey Boys, a long-time project of mine, is my love letter to the Beatles, the city of Liverpool, England and that great time that was the Mersey Beat.
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