By Ronan McGreevy
Director Ken Loach is to make a film about Jim Gralton, the only Irish man to have been deported from Ireland.
Loach was in Gralton's native Co Leitrim last week scouting for locations with a view to shooting the film Jimmy's Hall in the late summer. He also met anti-fracking campaigners.
Gralton was deported to the US by the de Valera government in August 1933 because he was perceived to have communist sympathies. He was never tried and died in 1945 without returning to Ireland.
Loach's previous Irish film, The Wind that Shakes the Barley , set in the War of Independence and subsequent Civil War, won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and was his most commercially successful film to date.
The film about Gralton will take up the story of Irish independence 10 years after the events in The Wind that Shakes the Barley concluded.
Loach and his long-time writing collaborator, Paul Laverty, are finalising the script.
The inspiration for the film came from Laverty's friendship with Donal O'Kelly, the writer of Jimmy Gralton's Dancehall , a play about Gralton's battle with local clergy.
The film will be produced by Loach's production company, Sixteen Films, and by Element Pictures, with support from the Irish Film Board.
"It is absolutely brilliant to be returning to Ireland after the success of The Wind that Shakes the Barley ," said Sixteen Films producer Rebecca O'Brien. "It is a different sort of story, which takes place 10 years later. We are well on the way to making it, but a lot of the details have to be ironed out."
Originally published by Ronan McGreevy.
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