In Production: Stephen Dunne’s independent Irish dark comedy Thank You Come Again

“A Porn Shop, Priests and Blood Diamonds… What Could Possibly go Right!?”

Currently in production is Thank You Come Again, a new Irish independent feature film from writer/director Stephen Dunne. The film is a dark comedic “day in the life” story with an ensemble cast.

Thank You Come Again is mosaic of several seemingly unrelated characters all linked to each other and the shop in various ways. As the story progresses we see how entwined the characters become through circumstance. The film begins with a voyeuristic feel as the audience move into a house where an unknown couple are in bed together. They knock a sex toy box to the ground, and a pouch containing blood diamonds falls out. This cuts to Harry (Jimmy Greeley), a salesman with only a couple of years to go to retirement who has just been sacked from his job. He turns up for an interview for a sales assistant position at the shop. This leads to the introduction of the main trio, Fergus, Mary, and Dillon (John Billy Kennerk, Danii Byrne, and John Sweeney) who are holding the interviews with an array of crazy characters. During the interviews, James (the late Steve Harris) shows up asking for a refund for a sex toy. Unknown to James and the trio, the toy contains the pouch with the blood diamonds. And then priests turn up!

[Quote title=”Stephen Dunne – Director”]We wanted to make a film that would be fun and enjoyable to watch with snappy dialogue and lots of visual comedy. We’re very influenced by the filmmakers Kevin Smith, Wes Anderson, Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino in the writing, look and vibe of the film. Also we’re big fans of Irish humour and Father Ted in particular. If there’s a deeper meaning to what the film is about, it’s about the Irish church and it’s effect on human relationships, and the liberation that has followed since we’ve become a more liberal society. The theme of Human sexuality in it’s various guises is also a common theme throughout the film. We didn’t receive a budget for the production but myself and lead actor and co-writer John Sweeney managed to max out our credit cards and use up whatever spare wages we had from our day jobs to put some money into equipment rental, production design, catering and insurance. People have been very generous to us lending props and costumes, and everyone worked unpaid.[/quote]

Principal photography originally began on the film in November 2014. After a false start and many problems, principal photography is now finally almost complete with just two major scenes left to film. Dunne describes the film as at first seeming a relatively easy debut feature, which turned into a ongoing struggle that only passion and continued support and belief by the cast and crew kept it going. The first shop location shut down after the first day of filming postponing the entire project for half a year, causing a re-shoot of the largest scene in the film.

[Quote title=”Stephen Dunne – Director”]The saddest part was losing our good friend and cast member Steve Harris to a tragic accident last summer when he’d only shot half of his scenes. It was extremely difficult but myself and John (Sweeney) managed to re-write the remaining film and I think Steve would be quite proud that we managed to keep the project going.[/quote]

Thank You Come Again stars John Billy Kennerk (Positive, Contractors, Planks ), Danii Byrne (Bring Me Back Alive, What Happened to Marie, Contractors), and John Sweeney (Don Sanjay, Contractors, Skeleton Krew). A large supporting cast consists of Jimmy Greeley, Fabien Oman, Brendan Sheehan, Maisy Carron, Izii Monet, Anarosa de Eizaguerre Butler, Karina Thompson, James Jake Martinez, Syed Muhammad Ali, and Joe O’Neill. The late Steve Harris makes his final on-screen appearance. The film also features cameos from well-known actors on the independent scene, including Cristina Ryan, Justine O’Rourke, Sharon Skerritt, Alan Sherlock, Richard Mason, Sandra Hayden Mason, Steve Kendall, Jay Dee, Aidan O’Sullivan, Thomas Collins, Nic Furlong, and Alan Patrick Delaney.

Dunne is director and co-writer with John Sweeney, with Oleg Rudkovskij producing for Top Floor Films. The Top Floor team have a number of credits to date, including the short film Memoirs of a Lost Mind, which won a Rising Star Award at the Canada International Film Festival 2015. They also received a nomination at the Underground Cinema Awards 2015 for Best Comedy for their concept short Contractors which they hope to use as a pitch for a potential TV show. DOP is Eric Cooper, with Aaron Gibson as second unit DOP.

Dunne and co. hope to get a good festival run out of the film, leading to a distribution deal, and potentially a TV series if thigs fall the right way.

[quote title=”Stephen Dunne – Director”]When we sent out the screenplay for the auditions and to get crew involved I was extremely worried that people would not want to be involved due to the subject matter of the film. It turns out all we had to say was the name of the film and it was set in a sex shop and people were already on board. The film is done in a very tasteful style and we have a wide range of ethnicities and age groups in the film as well as a very gender balanced cast and crew. It’s been a really creative collaboration with everyone adding their touch to the film.[/quote]

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