Hollywood director Paul Feig calls for more NI film studios – BBC

Northern Ireland's screen industry needs more film studios in order to grow, according to one of Hollywood's top directors.
Paul Feig has directed The School for Good and Evil, which is being released next week.
The action-adventure with an all-star cast was filmed at Belfast's Harbour Studios and across Northern Ireland.
It is based on Soman Chainani's novels about a school where children learn to be fairy tale heroes and villains.
Speaking to BBC News NI, Feig said Northern Ireland needed more "stage space" to attract more big productions.
"It's a chicken-and-egg thing because you need more things coming in, in order to build more production space and sound stages," he said.
"But you could use more sound stages, definitely.
"Belfast Harbour studios is beautiful, but it's two giant stages and we could have used another stage."
He said the problem in the industry was that there is "so much production because it used to be all just movie studios but now it's the streamers".
"The streamers have taken over various studios in London and Budapest and all these places.
"If you can become the place that has all the stage space, has these great crews, great city to work in, that's going to make people start coming in."
Blade Runner 2099, a TV series based on the iconic Blade Runner films, is soon to be filmed in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Screen has a new four-year strategy to grow the TV, film and video game industries.
Feig started out as an actor, but has become a highly successful director and producer.
Among the films he has directed are hits like Bridesmaids and Last Christmas and episodes of TV series like Nurse Jackie, 30 Rock and Mad Men.
The School for Good and Evil was Netflix's first major production in Northern Ireland and was filmed in 2021.
The cast has, in Feig's words, "some heavy hitters".
That includes Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Yeoh and Cate Blanchett.
"And then we've got a whole bunch of amazing newcomers in Sophia Anne Caruso, Sofia Wylie, Jamie Flatters, Kit Young," Feig said.
"What's nice is when you get the two generations together, if they're real pros and really talented they just mesh and it's fun to watch them play."
The School for Good and Evil was filmed in Belfast's Harbour Studios, but also at locations such as St Anne's Cathedral, Mount Stewart in County Down and Big Dog Forest in County Fermanagh.
While the film has spectacular special effects, Feig said that filming on location was crucial.
"What I never want to do is get caught in a special-effects driven vortex, where you're in front of green screens and people are acting with tennis balls and all that stuff," he said.
"For this movie we tried to do as much as we could practically.
"We really loved being at Mount Stewart, which was great because we used that for a lot of the outside grounds.
"We have a whole scene around this beautiful pond out there so that was great.
"Then we were shooting in Big Dog Forest which was way, way out in the woods.
"So far in that most people said we probably couldn't even do it logistically, but it's so gorgeous.
"It's just so stunning that most people watching the movie will go: 'That's a special effect.'
"No, that is the real forest, that's how it looks."
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Paul Feig's film, The School for Good and Evil, was filmed in NI.
St Anne's Cathedral also features heavily in the film.
"It was so lovely that they let us take it over," Feig recalled.
"We were there for a good two weeks and really transformed the place, though it was this big, almost sound-stage type space but with so much detail."
But directing a major production is, according to Feig, an all-consuming role.
"I always say that when you're picking a project you're basically picking a spouse – you're going to do 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you're never going to stop thinking about this," he said.
"It's what you obsess about, that's why you have to be in love with the project you're doing.
"These big ones are logistical challenges, let's just say."
Having filmed in Belfast in 2021 as lockdown was easing, Feig is keen to come back to see more.
"It was really only the last couple of weeks where the town opened up again," he said.
"My hope is that I can make another movie here… and then I'll just be out partying every night."
The School for Good and Evil is on Netflix from Wednesday, 19 October.
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