A movie based on the years of the Irish famine, otherwise known as the Great Hunger or An Gorta Mór, is to hold a casting call in Dublin today. Those making the movie want to find “Irish men and women with gaunt faces and thin bodies."  Production company Fastnet Films is holding hold an open call for actors who feel they fit this bleak description at Filmbase, located in Dublin’s Temple Bar. Fastnet Films is hoping to fill the roles of famine victims for the new Irish feature film “Black ‘47.” The roles will include specific and background roles in the upcoming production.

“Black ‘47” is a new feature film directed by Lance Daly and set in 1847. The movie is an adaptation of the award-winning short “The Ranger” by PJ Dillon and Pierce Ryan. The year 1847 is commonly referred to as “Black ‘47” in Ireland, as it is regarded as the pinnacle of suffering for the Irish people during the Great Hunger. 1847 was the third year of limited food sources and disease which left more people dead and emigrating than ever before.

Set five years after the end of the famine in 1854, the original short “The Ranger” follows the journey home of a soldier who has spent many years abroad. During the 2008 short, the soldier returns to Connemara, one of the areas of the country worst affected by the Famined, and delves into the horrors that he missed while serving in the Army. It was while he was visiting a neighbor that he learned that his home was deserted and what had befallen his family.

Co-writer Ryan described the movie as “a western set during the Irish famine.” 

If the casting call is a success shooting is due to take place on the feature film throughout Connemara and Co. Wicklow from November 28 to December 22 and from January 6 to 28.

Co-producers on “Black ‘47” are Luxembourg-based Sansa Films while funding is provided by Eurimages and the Irish Film Board.