Green light for Irish film adaptation of Claire Keegan’s novel ‘Small Things Like These’

Artists Equity, the artist-led studio founded by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, announced today that production has begun on the feature film adaptation of Claire Keegan’s acclaimed novel, ‘Small Things Like These’. 

Artists Equity will finance the project which began principal photography on March 2, 2023, shooting in Ireland’s Wexford, Dublin, and Wicklow.

Speaking about the project Cillian Murphy, 

“I’m honoured and thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Claire Keegan’s magnificent novel to the screen. We have gathered together a phenomenal team of creatives to make this film, and found exceptional partners in AE, a studio led by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck — actors and filmmakers I have admired for many years.”

The project reunites director Tim Mielants (WILL, THE RESPONDER, PATRICK, and PEAKY BLINDERS) and Cillian Murphy (OPPENHEIMER, A QUIET PLACE PART II), who previously worked together on the BAFTA Award-winning series PEAKY BLINDERS.

Emily Watson (BREAKING THE WAVES,GODS CREATURES) and Ciarán Hinds (BELFAST, MUNICH) will also star.  Acclaimed Irish playwright and screenwriter Enda Walsh, a longtime collaborator of Murphy’s, wrote the script.

Murphy and producer Alan Moloney commissioned the screenplay from Walsh having optioned the rights last year and will produce through their production company Big Things Films.

For Artists Equity, Matt Damon and Drew Vinton will produce, and Ben Affleck, Kevin Halloran, and Michael Joe will executive produce. Jeff Robinov will also produce.

The film is an Irish production with additional funding coming from Screen Ireland and will be co-produced with Wilder Films in Belgium.

‘Small Things Like These’ takes place over Christmas in 1985, when devoted father Bill Furlong (Murphy) discovers the startling secrets being kept by the convent in his town, and some shocking truths about his own life, as well.

‘Small Things Like These’ was published in 2021 by Grove Press and quickly went on to critical acclaim, having been shortlisted on the 2022 Booker Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize.

‘Small Things Like These’ also won the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, the Ambassadors’ Prize for best Irish novel published in France, and The Kerry Prize for Irish Novel of the year. It is now nominated for the Dublin Literary Award which is presented annually for the best novel in the world written or translated into English.

This year, the adaptation of Keegan’s previous novel ‘Foster’ marks Ireland’s first international film nomination (and the first time an Irish-language film has been nominated for an Academy Award).

Her additional works have won numerous awards and are translated into more than thirty languages. ‘Antarctica’ won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature.

‘Walk the Blue Fields’ won the Edge Hill Prize for the finest collection of stories published in the British Isles. Foster, after winning the Davy Byrnes Award — then the world’s richest prize for a story — was chosen by The Times as one of the top 50 works to be published in the 21st Century. It is now part of the school syllabus in Ireland.

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