Territorial Behaviour – the new production from Totality Pictures – tells the story of Bailey Rhodes – a rugged, self-reliant outdoors specialist – who ventures into a remote area of Montana to shoot a wilderness video, only to come to the attentions of poachers – who may or may not be protecting a dark secret. Unfortunately for Rhodes, however, he soon realises he may have more than just these poachers to contend with…
Written, produced and directed by Peter Bergin (Hell’s Drifter) and also co-produced by Malcolm Deegan (Fractional), it is an ambitious story set in the US, though actually going to be shot in Ireland, using specially selected locations to stand in for remote parts of Montana. Dublin actor Ronan Murphy plays the lead role of Bailey Rhodes. “I’m really attracted to roles that both physically and mentally challenge me,” the actor says. “And the role of Bailey Rhodes in Territorial Behaviour is one that ticks all the boxes for me. The physical challenge of becoming Bailey and learning the skills of a survival specialist will be a real experience. Add to that the emotional rollercoaster that Bailey experiences throughout the film and you’ve got an actor’s dream role.”
With the success of the project dependent on both authentic locations and convincing accents, it will be a complex mixture to get right, but it is one which actor Ronan Murphy is confident they can achieve. “The intensity of the script gives me as an actor the opportunity to explore various emotions which Bailey experiences,” the actor continues. “I always try to ensure that people can relate to my character in some way. It can be cool to hear people say at times ‘yeah I know how he feels’ or ‘I know why he made that choice’. I suppose then you know you have created someone and something real which has hit home with people and that’s what it’s all about. “
Director Peter Bergin, who isn’t ruling out a form of ‘boot camp’ to mentally/physically prepare the actor for the part, is in agreement. “Right from the outset,” he says, “I told Ronan: you must become this character. The fact is, I was looking for an actor to inhabit the character to such a degree we wouldn’t know where the performer ends and the individual begins. When I first sat down with Ronan to discuss the part, I actually tried to talk him out of doing it – I wanted him to know what a big commitment it was going to be. But fortunately in Ronan, not only did I get someone with the raw talent that was needed for the role, he also had the raw enthusiasm, which is absolutely essential on something that will be as physically demanding as this.”
Territorial Behaviour will commence shooting in summer this year and is slated to go into post-production in autumn.