Director Martin McDonagh has spoken about filming on Achill for The Banshees of Inisherin in a sit-down interview with mega-popstar Taylor Swift.
The Banshees of Inisherin, which has received eight Golden Globe nominations, the most of any film, was shot on Inis Mór, Co Galway and on Achill Island.
McDonagh spoke with Swift as part of the ‘Directors on Directors’ on Variety. They both delved into their creative processes, as the Anti-Hero singer released a short film starring Stranger Things star Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, All Too Well.
Her latest studio album Midnights has broken many records as it is sits atop of the US Billboard 200 albums chart for five straight weeks.
Swift said she was blown away to find out that the local pub in the film, JJ Devine’s, was built by the production crew, but she was sad that she couldn’t visit it.
“It was filmed on Inis Mór and it’s a place of natural beauty and heritage, so you have to take everything away and leave it exactly as it was. Although a lot of the locals were saying, ‘this would be a great little extra tourist attraction to have’,” McDonagh said.
Taylor asked was it in McDonagh’s original plans to shoot it on Inis Mór.
“Well, I had written two plays which were set on the Aran Islands, one on each, in my head, this was a vague end to that trilogy of island plays.”
McDonagh was born in London, but he has always had a close link to the West of Ireland as his father is from Connemara and his mother is from Easkey. In fact, Martin’s brother, John Michael, who is also a director and screenwriter, shot his 2011 film The Guard in Galway City and Connemara and his 2014 film Calvary in Easkey.
“So I wanted to shoot there and we did on Inis Mór which is off the Galway coast. From parents house, which is just outside of Galway (city), you can those islands where we filmed. So every weekend off, I would go back and see mum and dad and hang out,” Martin said.
“I first went there when I was seven-years-old, to Inis Mór, which is the biggest of the Aran Islands. So it’s always had a part in my Irish history, but where playwrights and poets have gone for a century or more. They say it has retain sort of the old world Irish heritage and charm and it does feel that way but it also feels like a spiritual place to be.
“We also shot on Achill Island, which is much more mountainous, it’s where Colm’s (Brendan Gleeson) house looks over that crescent beach. I wondered at one point, ‘would it work to have two very different island types and have it seamlessly seem like one?'”
Swift said she did not realise it was shot on two different islands and that she was completely fooled.
You can watch the full interview below: