Following the successful filming of ‘A brief Inquisition into the Luxury Dining Experience (and the world of food)’ ASTRL Pictures is pushing forward with its next production: ‘Rois des Cheavaux’, written and directed by Fermanagh native Riagáin Grainger.

Set in 1202 Normandy France, the king is dead and Prince Marcellus is to be crowned as successor. Unfortunately, his (evil) uncle has other plans. When Marcellus is cursed and transformed into a black stallion, it’s a race against time to stop the kingdom going to war with an opposing royal house. Marcellus must endure a mental (and psychical) journey to stop his uncle’s maniacal plans coming to fruition, whilst on the way forming an unusual ragtag team with a stable girl and a disgraced bounty hunter.

“’Rois Des Cheavaux’ is bigger and bolder in every way, I think the title suggests that from the get-go. In a way the production can be seen as a spiritual sequel in tone and style, continuing to explore the cinematic and thematic style of a Wes Anderson or a Monty Python feature but with a lot more experimentation and freedom. It’s very much a group ensemble piece with quirky dialogue and a situation based comedy, however, I wanted to explore the characters on a deeper level especially when it comes to the idea of social class and the underlying social hierarchy at that time in history,” explained Riagáin. He continued: “I particularly had a fascination with creating an unlikeable character that the audience will end up liking so much they don’t want to see them go. It really is a character journey and transformation story at heart about this arrogant prince, however, it is presented in the most outrageous and obscure way.”

“We take inspiration from classic stories such as the ‘The Golden Ass’ and ‘Hamlet’ but instead try to subvert the expectations you would have from those pieces and capitalise on the clichés almost in a parodical way. For example, the fact that the main group of characters speak in English yet the ‘unimportant’ background characters stay in their native French language, something Hollywood constantly seems to do,” added Riagáin.

Filming for the production ‘A brief Inquisition…’, which recently took place in Mahon’s Hotel was quite unprecedented due to the social distancing required on set. First Assistant Director (AD) Daniel Valentine was in charge. He said: “When you have to manage a large crew, it is hard to not find yourself in a situation where you have to get up close and personal with the actors or the on-set departments. We managed to operate our crew in small bubbles, allowed extra blocking for our actors, wiped down the kit before rigging/packing, and required everyone to sanitise their hands when arriving on set. It’s a challenge we took seriously when planning, our health, and the safety of the cast and crew is a priority. When you realise there are only six major features currently in production in the UK, it is definitely something that needs to be taken seriously.”

“We had a very successful auditioning process for ‘A brief Inquisition…’, all our cast were local talent, we hope to continue to emphasize this. We are currently looking for roles for our main cast, male and female, ranging from the ages of 18-60, open to all ethnicity and nationality. Even if your experience is only through amateur dramatics, we very much encourage everyone to get involved and apply. The production is aiming for a mid-August start date and is set to be distributed across the Film festival circuit within the UK and Europe,” concluded Riagáin.

The deadline is the August 6, 2020. If you wish to get involved email with the subject line GETINVOLVED2.