Back in 2004, Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe teamed up with Irish director John Crowley and a heavily Irish cast to film the underappreciated Intermission. The movie – which starred Colm Meaney, Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy – followed a band of bumbling tough guys, an egotistical TV newsman and a regular Joe whose lives unexpectedly intersect. A similarly impressive cast of Irish talent has once again come together for a Mark O’Rowe script. The film, entitled Perrier’s Bounty, stars Brendan Gleeson and Cillian Murphy, as well as Jim Broadbent. Directed by Ian Fitzgibbon (who directed Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the Irish movie A Film With Me in It), Perrier’s Bounty is set in the modern-day Dublin underworld of small- and big-time criminals. The film was slated to have its United Kingdom premiere at the Bradford International Film festival in late March. No U.S. release date has been announced just yet, though it’s a good bet the flick will eventually cross the pond, just as Intermission did.
Colin Farrell has two more internationally-made films crossing over into America. First, there’s Ondine, directed by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Michael Collins), in which Farrell plays a fisherman who captures a mythical woman from the sea. It came to America in limited release March 12. Then there’s Triage, in which Farrell plays a photojournalist chronicling the devastation of war in 1980s Kurdistan. This is quite a long way from Farrell’s days in flashy Hollywood flicks such as Miami Vice. Maybe the onetime tabloid party boy is, indeed, serious about settling down and focusing on fatherhood and his career.
One Irish actor who has no problem getting onto American film screens these days is Liam Neeson: at the end of March he stars alongside Julianne Moore in the thriller Chloe; in April he has a role in Clash of the Titans; and in June he camps it up in the movie version of the 1980s TV show The A-Team.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese looked to Irish-American author Dennis Lehane for inspiration with their recent blockbuster hit (based on Lehane’s novel) Shutter Island. These two stars just can’t seem to shake the Irish.
This summer, DiCaprio will be teaming up with the aforementioned Cork native, Cillian Murphy, for another big-budget movie entitled Inception. The film will be directed by Christopher Nolan, best known for the indy hit Memento and a little superhero film called The Dark Knight, which is one of the top grossing movies of all time.
Inception, which is slated to be released in July, is a mind-bending sci-fi flick about a corporation which has managed to infiltrate the human mind at such an intimate level that it can read people’s dreams and mine their minds for information. Along with DiCaprio and Murphy, Inception will star Ellen Page (Juno) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Meanwhile, Scorsese has more Irish-related work coming up. First, there’s Boardwalk Empire, about the creation of gambling mecca Atlantic City, starring Steve Buscemi and Kelly MacDonald, who plays an Irish immigrant. Boardwalk Empire hits HBO in September.
Scorsese is also planning to make a film with Daniel Day-Lewis entitled Silence. This duo, of course, made magic with The Gangs of New York, but this time around don’t expect a stylish gangster film. Silence tells the story of two Jesuit priests in 17th-century Japan (yes, you read that right) who attempt to convert Japanese citizens amidst persecution in the land of the Rising Sun. Benicio Del Toro is also expected to star in Silence.
Scorsese and his old pal Robert DeNiro were initially said to be interested in making the film The Irishman. Instead, director Jonathan Hensleigh and Val Kilmer teamed up to tell the story of infamous Cleveland Irish mobster Danny Greene. Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Walken and Raymond Stephenson also star in The Irishman, which is slated for a late 2010 or early 2011 release.
Danny Greene was a longshoreman who rose up the ranks of the Cleveland underworld and took on the Italian American mob. Greene, it was often said, had the luck of the Irish because, though targeted by his enemies, he always seemed to survive, and became something of a cult hero, a kind of Cleveland Irish Robin Hood. (Try not to confuse this film, due out later this year, with the rather more sedate 1978 British film The Irishman, based on the novel by Elizabeth O’Connor.)
The next installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, will be hitting screens in November, and the Irish talent who have become familiar to Potter fans will also be returning. Brendan Gleeson will be back as “Mad Eye” Moody while Belfast thespian Ciaran Hinds makes an appearance as Aberforth Dumbledore. Young Evanna Lynch also returns as Luna Lovegood. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the final film in the Harry Potter series, but don’t worry, fans: the film will actually be released in two parts, one this year and another in 2011.
Speaking of Ciaran Hinds, he and Aidan Quinn are among the actors who appeared in Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s latest film The Eclipse, which will be released in the U.S. in late March. Quinn plays a widower living in a spooky Irish seaside town who may be seeing ghosts as he struggles to come to terms with his wife’s death. Up next for Quinn is Flipped, directed by Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally, A Few Good Men). This teen love story also features Rebecca De Mornay as well as Irish-American veteran of the small and big screen John Mahoney (Frasier, Say Anything). Flipped is based on the beloved novel of the same name by Wendelin van Draanen, and looks closely at a grade school boy and girl
who fall in and out of love. Flipped is slated for a September release.
Up-and-coming actor Brian Geraghty made quite a name for himself in the Oscar-nominated critics’ darling The Hurt Locker, about soldiers who defuse bombs in Iraq. The Irish American from Tom’s River, New Jersey, also earned critical praise recently for a starring role on the Los Angeles stage in Frank Gilroy’s 1964 Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Subject Was Roses. The play is about an Irish kid from the Bronx who returns home to his unhappy parents after serving in World War II. Geraghty took a break from all of this war business for the recent independent film Easier With Practice, about a novelist who strikes up a strange relationship with a girl who talks dirty on the phone for a living. Up next for Geraghty is a thriller called Open House. Geraghty plays a sociopath, and in recent interviews said he is looking forward to playing a character so different from his Hurt Locker character. Interestingly, Geraghty – a Jersey shore kid who loves to surf during his down time – was directed in The Hurt Locker by Kathryn Bigelow, whose credits include the campy 1991 classic Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze as renegade surfers. A sequel is supposedly in the works, but Geraghty has said he is not all that interested in appearing in the flick, which will be shooting in Indonesia.
Michael Fassbender certainly caught the attention of some big time directors when he starred in Hunger, set during the Northern Ireland hunger strikes of the 1980s. Fassbender (who grew up in Ireland, though his father is German) appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s smash hit Inglorious Basterds and is now slated to be in Knockout, an upcoming film from Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brokovich, Traffic, all of the George Clooney Ocean’s movies). Fassbender will star in Knockout alongside real-life mixed martial arts star Gina Carano. Carano portrays a female fighter from the wrong side of the tracks and Knockout has been compared to other female revenge flicks such as Kill Bill (another Tarantino picture) and La Femme Nikita.
Where does the term “the luck of the Irish” come from?