A tale of two Tribeca hits - Brendan Gleeson’s ‘The Guard’ and ‘Noreen’


For a moment you can hear a pin drop as the audience reassures itself that they really just heard what they think they have. Then they erupt in laughter.

Like the guard in his film, it’s safe to assume that McDonagh -- being Irish -- has a bit of a problem with authority figures.

“Gerry Boyle doesn’t stop all the way to the end. He doesn’t turn into a nicer person who’s not going to say that stuff. He’s still going to keep on being who he is,” McDonagh says.

“There’s an essential integrity to him. He’s saying the worst things he can think of to see what your reaction will be – that’s how they judge you as a person. He’s neither racist nor stupid. There’s real warmth to the character.”

But making the film was a challenge at times, because no matter how things have changed on the ground in Ireland these days, there are some storylines that still have the power to cause consternation.

“They wouldn’t let us shoot in a Catholic church,” explains McDonagh. “They didn’t like the scene or the dialogue talking about drugs. We had to find a Protestant church that would let us.

“There was one Catholic priest in the area who said it was fine, he needed the money to restore the church roof. But a few days later he got back in touch with the location manager and said he’d been told by the higher ups that he couldn’t allow it.”

In Noreen, the short film hit of the Tribeca Festival, writer and director Domhnall Gleeson (son of Brendan) made comedy gold of a broken heart (his own, he reveals).

“I’d heard about the suicide of a guy who had blamed someone else for his death, and I just wondered what would happen if you’d found that note?” Gleeson told the Irish Voice.

“Imagine someone’s last words were condemning you and saying their death was all your fault? I wondered what that situation would be like.

“ I also wondered about the situations it would throw up. When you get into the pits of despair about some aspect of your life at some stage it does become hilarious. People in despair can be absolutely hilarious.”

Shot over four days in Co. Offaly, Noreen tells the story of two guards who solve their own problems in the process of attempting to explain a mysterious death. Gleeson’s father Brendan and his brother Brian star.

“They are both brilliant at what they do and I‘m relatively inexperienced compared to them. But I’m also really having fun as an actor and I’m getting to work with good people that I never would have imagined working with before,” Domhnall says.

“They’re opportunities I would never pass up so directing will have to take a back seat -- however I do love it. I’m happy to continue directing it when I’m not acting.”buzz about these two films in particular, he admits.

“Hopefully we can keep on making movies back here and keep the crews, actors and writers in employment,” he says.

Meanwhile, Domhnall is probably best known for his role as Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter films and he’ll be featured in the final episode, The Deathly Hallows, that opens in July. How is it having a role in what will likely be the biggest movie of the summer?

“You do get people who are bit over the top or are star struck by it. It’s like, janey mac, I’m not actually from the universe of Harry Potter, I’m an actor who played a tiny role in the film,” says Domhnall.
“It’s nice that it has that effect on people and obviously the movies are huge. I wonder when it will all calm down with the release of the final film.”

Off screen, he hung out with his fellow Irish Potter-ites.

“I hung out with Evanna Lynch (who plays Luna Lovegood) a little bit and really like her and her family. There’s a lot of waiting around on Harry Potter films and you have to make your friends and hang around, but I did have a fantastic time.

“You’re outstanding for 10 hours a day and shooting for two. I formed close friendships with the people doing it. “

The Guard opens on July 29. To see a trailer for Noreen log onto Viemo.com.