Irish Eye On Hollywood
This holiday season, audiences will see Saoirse Ronan – the Northern Irish wunderkind actress – in the intense drama The Lovely Bones, also starring Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and Mark Wahlberg. Ronan plays a girl who is brutally murdered and, afterwards, watches from beyond the grave as her friends and family try to come to terms with this horrific turn of events.
Next spring, however, Ronan will be taking a trip to merry Sherwood Forest. She is set to star alongside Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett in a new movie version of the Robin Hood saga. Directed by blockbuster veteran Ridley Scott (American Gangster, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, Alien), this is just the latest big screen version of the Robin Hood tale. Past films have featured a wide range of males in the lead role, from Kevin Costner to Errol Flynn (who often touted himself as an Irishman, though his parents were Australian).
Blanchett and Crowe played historic Irish characters in previous films. Cate Blanchett portrayed crusading journalist Veronica Guerin, while Crowe was legendary Irish-American boxer Jim Braddock in Cinderella Man.
Expect to see Ronan, Crowe and Blanchett in Robin Hood in May 2010.
Later in 2010, Scott will be directing Liam Neeson in the movie version of the campy TV classic The A-Team. More on Liam Neeson later.
Aside from Saoirse Ronan, Irish movie buffs will also be spending the Christmas season with Daniel Day-Lewis and Jim Sheridan.
Day-Lewis, not seen since his screen-chewing, Oscar-winning turn in 2007’s There Will Be Blood, is among those in the star-studded cast of Nine. Also featuring Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench and Kate Hudson, Nine is loosely based on Federico Fellini’s head-tripping 1963 film 8 1/2. The film explores a movie director beset on all sides by demanding women, including lovers, would-be lovers and even his deceased mother. Nine is set to be released Christmas Day.
In early December, director Jim Sheridan’s next film Brothers will also be released. Featuring Jake Gyllenhall and Tobey Maguire as the titular siblings, Sheridan (In America, In the Name of the Father) is aiming for another Oscar in this drama about an Afghan War veteran (Maguire) who returns home to a wife (Natalie Portman) who may have fallen in love with Gyllenhall’s character.
Anjelica Huston – daughter of Irish-American Hollywood legend John Huston, whose last film was James Joyce’s The Dead – will ring in the new year co-starring in a romantic comedy entitled When in Rome. Also starring Kristen Bell and Jon Heder (forever known as Napoleon Dynamite), When in Rome is about an ambitious New York woman (Bell) who runs off to Rome in search of love. She comes across a seemingly magic fountain, which sends an odd assortment of potential lovers her way. When a nosy reporter (Josh Duhamel) begins sniffing around the story of the magic fountain, it could be that true love has been found.
Stephen Rea (The Crying Game) and Irish-American thespian Martin Sheen have signed on to star in an Irish movie project, which will actually be shooting in the Tipperary town where Sheen’s mother was born. The film, entitled Stella Days, features Sheen as a movie-loving priest, and is based on the life of an Irish priest by the name of Father Dean Cahill, who set up a movie theater in the tiny town of Borrisokane in the 1950s and 1960s. In Stella Days, Sheen’s character fears he has lost his passion for the priesthood. That is, until the locals – and the movies – light a new fire inside of him. Thaddeus O’Sullivan (Ordinary Decent Criminal) is among those who have been mentioned to serve as director of Stella Days. The film is based on a book by Michael Dorley Dubhairle entitled Stella Days: The Life and Times of a Rural Irish Cinema.
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