January 2013, and we're in Lucan, County Dublin. It's the exact half-way point through the shoot of upcoming Irish feature Jack & Ralph Plan A Murder, and everyone is partying. Well, not exactly partying… but there is a party happening. Writer/Director/Star Jeff Doyle has amassed his impressive cast in this gigantic house to shoot a party scene which kicks the movie off; the events of which will lead Jack (Jeff Doyle) and Ralph (Johnny Elliott) to, yes, plan a murder. But nothing about this is straightforward; for starters, they're planning to simultaneously kill workplace bully Pat (Chris Newman) while seducing workplace heartbreaker Laura (Aisling Bodkin). On top of that, Ralph is actually imaginary, and Jack is the only person who can see or hear him, which more often than not lands Jack in some sticky situations. And despite all of the bullying and murdering, this is actually a comedy, albeit a very, very dark comedy. So what made Doyle want to tell this story?
"I just felt that a lot of Irish films get very caught up in telling a very Irish story, and dealing with heavy subject matters. But this is just a fun story that just happens to be set in Ireland, but it's not what I would call an Irish film."
Doyle has gathered quite a who's who of up-and-coming Irish talent, including Elliott (Charlie Casanova), Newman (Songs For A Raggy Boy), Bodkin (Love/Hate), Brian Fortune (Game Of Thrones), Steve Wilson (The Tudors), Stephen Clinch (Between The Canals) and John Connors (King Of The Travellers). But what was it that attracted these actors to the movie?
For Newman, it was playing the bad guy: "I've always been involved in some heavy shows and films, like Love/Hate and Song For A Raggy Boy and Saving The Titanic, so to be a part of something so fun, and to play a bad guy as bad and as fun to play as Pat, it was good to be involved in something so different to what I'm used to." The same goes for Bodkin: "For once, there's an Irish movie that isn't getting bogged down trying to push a message, this is just trying to be funny and trying to entertain you, and that was a nice change for me."
With another half of the film still to shoot, and a snow-bogged Dublin to shoot it in, we leave Doyle with his cast and crew, on the way out asking when we should expect to see the movie finished ("Hopefully in time for the Galway Film Festival.") and what his favourite scene to shoot was ("Running almost naked through the city centre."). But when it comes to giving us a final reason as to why we really need to see this movie, we'll leave with a line of dialogue barked by Johnny Elliott as the imaginary Ralph: "You needed a set of testes on you bigger than Margaret Thatcher."
"Jack & Ralph Plan A Murder is due in cinemas in late 2013."