Limerick gets starring role in World War II film drama

Rachael Power (Film in Limerick), Kieran Lehane and Vincent Murray (Limerick City and County Council), Writer and Dircetor Todd Komarnicki, Paul C Ryan (Film in Limerick) and Producer Mark O’Sullivan on the set of 'God's Spy'.

LOCATIONS throughout Limerick will be transformed into 1940’s Germany this month for the filming of a major feature film set during the second world war.

‘God’s Spy’, the true story a German theologian and pastor who stood up to the Nazis, currently being filmed in the Mid-West, is directed by prolific screenwriter, producer and novelist Todd Komarnicki.

His credits include, ‘Sully’, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks and ‘The Professor and the Madman’, starring Mel Gibson and Sean Penn. He also produced the Christmas blockbuster favourite ‘Elf’, starring Will Ferrell.

Set in Berlin during the Third Reich, ‘God’s Spy’ tells the extraordinary true story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who lived his life with uncompromising political and spiritual courage while speaking truth to power in his attempt to save countless Jewish lives.

Bonhoeffer was among only a few clergy who was early to recognise the danger of Hitler’s anti-Semitic rhetoric and,while the German church acquiesced to Hitler, Bonhoeffer took him on. First from the pulpit– and then from the front lines.

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According to Todd Komarnicki the movie is about” a man for all time”.

“He was a fearless martyr who brought wartime atrocities to the world’s attention and wouldn’t be silenced even when no one believed him.”

Executive producer Mark O’Sullivan said the film is being made to remind us that the truth always sets us free no matter the cost.

“Dietrich paid the ultimate price for the truth he proclaimed and that is a story not just of another time, but for all time.”

The producers of the €22-million Irish-Belgian co-production, whose base is at Innovate Limerick’s Engine building in Limerick City, have been working closely with Film in Limerick to achieve their vision here.

Regional Film Manager Paul C Ryan said: “It’s just brilliant to have Todd and his team filming in Limerick and Clare and Tipperary. We’re delighted to see so many locally based crew working on this film and to showcase all that the Mid-West has to offer as a film-friendly location”.

Explaining why he chose Limerick and the Mid-West as a location, Director Komarnicki  said: “We searched high and low for the right location to film ‘God’s Spy’ and the region came out tops for us.

“The talented crew base, unbelievable locations, and above all a willingness from the councils to do what it takes to support a production of this scale, made all the difference. We have had an incredible experience filming here in the Mid-West”.

As well as utilising locally-based crew, God’s Spy has some major international talents on board. Director of Photography is Oscar nominated and BAFTA-winning Cinematographer John Mathieson (Gladiator, The Phantom of the Opera, Pan), and the Production Designer is John Beard (Brazil, The History Boys).

Jonas Dassler, breakout star of The Golden Glove, plays the lead role alongside Flula Borg (The Suicide Squad, Pitch Perfect 2), David Jonsson (Rye Lane, Industry), August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds, A Hidden Life), Moritz Bleibtreu (World War Z, Run Lola Run), and Clarke Peters (The Wire, The Man Who Fell to Earth).

Among the locations that have been used for filming are Castle Oliver, a baronial style residence in County Limerick; O’Brien’s Bridge and the Shannon River doubling as the Danube; Fanore beach and Kinturk in Clare; Swiss Cottage in Tipperary and Limerick City’s Georgian Quarter standing in for 1940’s London.

‘God’s Spy’ is expected to premiere early next year.