Netflix has today announced that Higher Ground Productions will be filming their very first scripted TV series down in the people's republic of Cork. The county is going to be talking about this forever more, aren't they?
It's a great day for The Rebel County, as The Obamas will be heading to Cork very soon to film a brand new scripted series for Netflix.
Higher Ground Productions, founded in 2018 by former US President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, have an ongoing multi-year deal cut with the streaming service. The Irish production set to be their first venture into scripted television alongside wiip film studios (who made Kate Winslet's 'Mare of Easttown' FYI).
Currently bearing the working title of 'Bodkin', the seven-episode series is pegged as a "darkly comedic thriller", with quite a cracking cast on board; Will Forte must love Ireland as he's back following his 'Extra Ordinary' venture, starring as the lead Gilbert; Siobhán Cullen ('The Dry' and 'The Bright Side') will play Dove; David Wilmot ('The Guard' and 'Intermission') stars as Seamus Gallagher; Chris Walley ('The Young Offenders' and '1917') plays Sean O'Sea; while Robyn Cara (Apple TV+'s 'Trying') stars as Emmy.
The synopsis for The Obamas and their Cork production is as follows: "'BODKIN' (wt) is a darkly comedic thriller about a motley crew of podcasters who set out to investigate the mysterious disappearance of three strangers in an idyllic, coastal Irish town. But once they start pulling at threads, they discover a story much bigger and weirder than they could have ever imagined. As our heroes try to discern fact from fiction — about the case, about their colleagues, and, most painfully, themselves — the series challenges our perception of truth and exposes the stories we tell ourselves to justify our beliefs or validate our fears."
So... 'Only Murders in the Building' but set in rural Ireland? Yes, please. Here's the descriptions of each of the main characters:
- Will Forte as Gilbert: Charming, open, and enthusiastic, Gilbert Power is an American podcaster on the hunt for his next big story. Originally from Chicago, Gilbert's family emigrated from Cork, and is hoping to discover his Irish roots. Gilbert loves his work, and using his undeniable charm and natural warmth to unearth the truth of a story by gaining people’s trust — and then weaving their memories, recollections and theories into an engaging narrative. While his affect is innocent and charming, it’s clear that there’s much more going on underneath the surface — something he hopes to avoid by coming to Ireland in pursuit of material for his next podcast.
- Robyn Cara as Emmy: Bright, funny and eager to please, Emmy is a researcher and has been helping Gilbert organize this podcast to a 'T'. But underneath her competent exterior, Emmy is clearly gnawed at by insecurities which she tries to hide with enthusiasm and comedy. Pulled between the sharp Dove and laconic Gilbert, Emmy's is struggling to find her own voice.
- Siobhan Cullen as Dove: Originally from Dublin, Dove is a truth-seeking missile. A hard-nosed investigative journalist with a fine-tuned bullshit detector and a healthy disdain for authority and hypocrisy. People find Dove rude, “difficult.” But she believes she just tells the truth, which makes her completely blind to her own bullshit and hypocrisy. She's also funny. And brave. And brilliant. She can also be extremely charming and persuasive. Unfortunately, she's in the middle of the biggest professional crisis of her career — and when you live your life as a lone wolf, your career tends to be all you have.
- David Wilmot as Seamus Gallagher: Seamus carries the weight and presence of a man who was physically powerful in his younger years. Mercurial and mysterious, Seamus can turn on the charm when it serves his needs, however he can just as quickly snap into outbursts of violence when he feels he is being threatened.
- Chris Walley as Sean O’Shea: A local from the village of Bodkin, Sean is a typical Irish country lad — feckless, up for a laugh, and doesn’t seem to be preoccupied with the obligations or responsibilities that usually accompany adulthood. He also is wrapped up in some pretty shady business, and a situation where we come to learn he is completely out of his depth.
Both Barack and Michelle Obama are on board as executive producers. The series comes from creator Jez Scharf, with Alex Metcalf of 'Sharp Objects' fame boarding as executive producer and co-showrunner alongside Scharf. Filming begins in Cork next week.
Higher Ground Productions has so far ventured into documentary, film and children's TV series, with the likes of 'Becoming' and 'Crip Camp' both on Netflix, as well as 'Waffles + Mochi' and 'We The People'. They also made two feature films in Kevin Hart's 'Fatherhood' and 'Worth' with Michael Keaton.
So, be sure to watch out for The Obamas bopping around Cork over the next few weeks - they might just pop into your local to knock back a Guinness.