Agnes brings Hollywood to her hometown

She may be squat, wrinkled, and foul-mouthed but Agnes Brown could have outshone any Hollywood leading lady when she brought movie magic to Dublin’s Moore St yesterday.

Agnes brings Hollywood to her hometown

The mouthy matriarch, the stage and onscreen persona of Brendan O’Carroll, set up in the historic market street to shoot scenes from her first movie. Crowds instantly clamoured for a mere touch of the hem of her frumpy florals.

Passers-by snapped pictures, babies were handed over to be kissed, and fans called frantically past the security cordon, almost fainting when their efforts were rewarded with a swiftly barked ‘howya’.

In fairness, the heat could have been responsible for Moore St melting in the late summer sun, and it certainly wasn’t helping O’Carroll, clad in his woolly cardi and mounds of make-up.

But he was loving it, even if his character is feeling the heat herself in this latest escapade. “She gets a tax bill that’s dated from the 1920s from when her granny had the stall. It was £96 then but its €4m now,” he said of the movie’s plot.

A battle to save her fruit stall ensues, with a parallel plot about saving the entire street from plans to clear it for a shopping centre. Mrs Brown takes on developers, planners, and bullies with trademark terrier tenacity.

For her feature film debut, O’Carroll was determined to get Mrs Brown, which is normally shot in Britain, back to his heartland. “It’s for the 15m viewers in the UK to see the market, to see the real Moore St,” he said.

The show’s massive UK fanbase, which has baffled critics, is only part of its international audience.

Mrs Brown is a hit in Australia, New Zealand, and Iceland, and has begun showing in Canada. It even runs in Romania, with the script refilmed under the name Tanti Florica (Auntie Florrie).

O’Carroll is confident he knows the reason for his show’s success at home — the recession. “People are really, really down and this is comedy that’s not trying to be clever — it’s just trying to make you laugh. It’s not trying to give analysis or say this is how you should rear your family.”

And he doesn’t care about the critics either: “It’s not pleasing the critics because if the critics could write what I write they wouldn’t be fucking critics.”

Mrs Brown D’Movie, which is backed by Universal, will continue shooting around Dublin for the next seven weeks and is due to hit cinema screens next summer.

Among the diverse cast are Mrs Brown’s usual crew as well as former rugby international Shane Byrne, making his movie debut as a Russian heavy; British actor Robert Bathurst; and RTÉ’s Joe Duffy, who guest-starred as a psychic in the show last year.

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