Irish Eye on Hollywood

Earlier this year, Meaney appeared in Three and Out, a comedy about a bus driver who hits two people in one month. The driver finds out that if he hits a third anytime soon, he will lose his job - a prospect which actually appeals to him. Now all he has to do is find a person to hit with his bus, or willing to be hit.

Next up for Meaney is a soccer flick called The Damned United. Directed by Tom Hooper (who recently directed the heralded John Adams mini-series for HBO), The Damned United tells the story of former soccer player and coach Brian Clough, who coached Leeds United for just 44 days one miserable season in the 1970s before he was fired. No word yet on whether or not The Damned United will be released in the U.S. It is slated for release in the U.K. some time next year.

Cable giant HBO is producing a new drama series called The Anatomy of Hope, which will explore patients battling cancer and other terminal ailments. Among the stars will be Irish actress Kerry Condon, who previously appeared in HBO's mini-series Rome. Chris Messina (Six Feet Under) and Simon Callow will also star in Anatomy of Hope, which will be produced by Lost wunderkind J.J. Abrams.

In September, the troubled biopic of boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward is supposed to begin shooting. Star Mark Wahlberg says he's still behind the film, but even he cannot guarantee the film will get made."I'll be disappointed (if it doesn't happen), because it's been a dream of mine," he told Men's Health magazine recently.

Also in September, Taken - Liam Neeson's next film - is slated to hit theaters. The film sounds a bit like a remake of the 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger shoot-em-up Commando. In both films, the daughter of a former soldier is kidnapped, then (presumably) heroically rescued.

Cillian Murphy has joined the stellar cast of Peacock, a drama to be directed by Michael Lander. Set for a 2009 release, Peacock also features Susan Sarandon, Bill Pullman and the young star of Juno Ellen Page. In Peacock, Murphy plays a small town clerk who discovers that a homeless woman has been secretly living in his back yard.

Finally, Irish beauty queen Gemma Garret is branching out into movies - at her peril. The onetime Miss Belfast and Miss Great Britain is teaming up with 80s action star Dolph Lundgren to shoot Direct Contact in Bulgaria and is planning to shoot another film with the muscular leading man. Garret was Sienna Miller's body double in Layer Cake and has also been seen in the movies Johnny Was and Buy Borrow Steal.


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