Director gets to work on his follow-up to ‘The Guard.’

Principal photography has commenced in Sligo on John Michael McDonagh’s ‘Calvary,’ the writer-director’s follow-up to his critically acclaimed, box-office smash ‘The Guard.’

Billed as a dark comedy, the film stars Brendan Gleeson (‘The Guard,’ ‘In Bruges’), Chris O’Dowd (‘Moone Boy,’ ‘Bridesmaids’), Kelly Reilly (‘Sherlock Holmes,’ ‘Eden Lake’), Aidan Gillen (‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Shadow Dancer’), Dylan Moran (‘Run Fat Boy Run,’ ‘Shaun of the Dead’), Marie Josée Crozé (‘The Diving Bell and The Butterfly,’ ‘Tell No One’) and Isaach De Bankolé (‘The Limits of Control,’ ‘Casino Royale’) and a host of other well know Irish actors including Domhnall Gleeson (‘Anna Karenina,’ ‘Dredd’), Pat Shortt (‘The Guard,’ ‘Garage’) and David Wilmot (‘Anna Karenina,’ ‘The Guard’).

Gleeson will be playing Father James Lavelle, flipside to his character of Sergeant Gerry Boyle from ‘The Guard.’ A good man intent on making the world a better place, Father Lavelle is continually shocked and saddened by the spiteful and confrontational inhabitants of his small country town. After being threatened during confession, he must battle the dark forces closing in around him.

In a statement, McDonagh commented: “It is with great excitement, bordering on tumescence, that I am looking forward to collaborating once more with Ireland’s greatest actor, Brendan Gleeson, and working with the finest ensemble cast ever assembled in the history of Irish cinema. I would like to thank the Irish Film Board, and the BFI, for their continuing support for filmmaking that seeks to escape from the tiresome, rarefied confines of Dublin 4. Up the West!”

‘Calvary’ is produced by Chris Clark and Flora Fernandez Marengo of Reprisal Films and James Flynn of Octagon Films. The film will arrive in cinemas in 2013.