Beware the Siren Call

It seemed almost too good to be true. A brave, lone Myrtlevillian embarks on a quest to commune with nature (he went for a swim, like) and meets magnificent marine mammals – AKA de dolphins. With the image beamed around the world (it’s on CorkBeo anyway), Harry Casey has been inundated with offers from Hollywood for a film about his experiences. The project – with the working title “Swims with Dolphins” (like Costner in that wolf thingie years ago) – is being cast (Ryan Gosling is on to play Harry, apparently, but Harry reckons he’s not macho enough) and we hear plans are in place to engage Peter Foott with his local knowledge of filming on the beach for the Young Offenders.

Harry “Swims-with-Dolphins” Casey in a still by D. McGreevy from the early rushes of the film.

By all accounts the script has a storyline that sees Harry abandoning the rat race and living on the beach in a Dryrobe tent (you stick two hurleys in the sand and drape the robe over them – you’d get a family of six in there) to be close to his dolphin family. It has Oscar written all over it. And yet…..beware the siren call of Hollywood. We have been here before.

Back in 2016, there was a similar clamour around another touted epic – “Basking with Bernie”, the story of one man and his shark co-habiting in the waters around Myrtleville. Bernard Lynch was living in the sea at the time, preparing for his Channel assault and he formed an attachment with a giant basking shark. Their interactions caught the attention of a passing fisherman who snapped the shot below and turned heads in Hollywood. They were going to make it a back-to-nature, save the planet biopic type of thing. Jack Black was down for the lead role and Colin Farrell was going to play the fisherman (he had fishing-acting experience from that mermaid film down in Castletownbere).

That’s Bernie’s fin on the left. There’s a lot of Bernie underwater. He’s shy. Bernard on the right was just moving closer.

Just like Harry’s film plans, it all looked good and they were just waiting for Bernard to finish the channel swim so they could start filming. Unfortunately, things changed around then in America. In the Trump era there was no appetite for some shark-hugging, sea-loving, leftie-liberal, environmenty-type stuff. Bernard was asked if he’d consider a film where he chased down the vicious shark with a spear gun but he declined and that was the end of it. He still has a rake of “I swam with Bernie” T Shirts on sale in the shop, by the way (25% off this week only).

So, Harry – enjoy it while it lasts, but keep the day job. This one might go down the tubes yet. You can’t trust those fillum fellas.