Northern Ireland

Hit US TV show rides into Belfast for filming

Sons of Anarchy publicity still
Image caption The producers of Sons of Anarchy are seeking lookalikes

Belfast is to be centre-stage in a hit US television show about an outlaw motorcycle club which rides into town next week.

Sons of Anarchy is a drama made by Twentieth Century Fox which is normally set in the fictional Northern Californian town of Charming.

But local bike fans are now getting a chance at stardom as the latest twist in the show takes it to Northern Ireland's shores.

One of the show's producers, Kevin Jackson, said he was now searching for lookalikes who could contribute to Sons of Anarchy, and described why it was logical to feature Belfast in its third series.

"The Sons of Anarchy are a sort of Hell's Angels chapter set up a couple of generations back by a legendary figure in the series and still run by his family," he said.

"At an early stage in series one they establish a link with Belfast and throughout series one and two encounter many difficulties with rival factions in their own town.

"In series three, the creator Kurt Sutter has decided to take it out of California and bring some of the story to Belfast.

"There will be a very significant storyline through all of that season which includes some filming here and much filming in California."

Casting

Mr Jackson, who previously worked for BBC Northern Ireland, said a casting call would take place at the Holiday Inn on Belfast's Ormeau Avenue on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

He explained what the production, which has featured actors such as Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman and Henry Rollins, was looking for.

"We have casting sessions next week and my real intention is to try and get as many people as could be interested in playing lookalikes for lead characters in series three," he said.

"The majority of people we are looking for are going to be men - they are going to be in the age range of anything between early 20s and over 50.

"We are also looking for some women, the lead role of Gemma Teller Morrow is played by Katey Sagal and we are looking for a double for her and two others - someone who is an Irish Colleen and a couple of others who are quite young.

"I have to say the casting is proving to be very successful through some of the motorcycle clubs and the Harley Davidson agency province-wide here.

"But we don't just need motorcycle riders, Harley Davidson riders for some of the characters, there are some who simply have to walk through the shot."

Mr Jackson also described what he hoped filming on location in Northern Ireland would achieve.

Beauty

"We are mainly in Belfast," he added.

"Because of the nature of the show it is going to be a little 'mean streets' Belfast because there is a chapter of Sons of Anarchy that was established in Belfast.

"That is why they come here to enlist the help of them.

"We will also be in the beautiful rural countryside because one of the key things is to establish Northern Ireland and its beauty as well as its contrasts in the city."

Further information on the casting call for Sons of Anarchy next week can be found on the Northern Ireland Screen website.

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