Finding Amanda, meanwhile, is a big screen project from one of the creators of Denis Leary's critically acclaimed Irish-American TV show Rescue Me. In Finding Amanda, writer-director Peter Tolan teams up with Irish-American veteran Matthew Broderick in a drama about an alcoholic TV producer who is forced to travel to Las Vegas to confront his niece (Brittany Murphy), whose addictions are even worse than his. Release dates for all of the Irish fare at the Tribeca Fest are either not set yet or tentative. Keep reading Eye on Hollywood for more info.
The movie rights to Paddy on the Hardwood, the non-fiction book about a longtime basketball coach who chased his dream of becoming a fiddle player to Ireland, only to get caught up in Irish pro basketball, were recently purchased. A script and shooting schedule are reportedly in the works.
The summer blockbuster season will soon be upon us, but Irish and Irish-American talent are sticking to work that seems a little more artsy. True, Liam Neeson will be heard (if not seen) doing voice work in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, due out May 16. Neeson's next big movie after that is the September thriller Taken, also starring Maggie Grace (of TV's Lost) and Goran Kostic. Taken is about a former soldier whose daughter is taken hostage by modern day slave traders. It sounds a bit like an update of the old Arnold Schwarzenegger flick Commando, but let's assume Neeson would have passed on the project if it were not thought-provoking as well as action-packed.
Also working hard this spring and summer is Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The Tudors is back on Showtime, starring Meyers as well as fellow Irish thespian Peter O'Toole. Meyers also has an independent film coming out on May 23. The Children of Huang Shi features Meyers as George Hogg, a British journalist who rescued 60 orphaned children in 1930s China.
Intentionally or not, the documentary Constantine's Sword - based on a massive book by Irish- American Pulitzer Prize winner James Carroll - was released just as the pope was visiting the U.S. In contrast with the pomp of that visit, Constantine's Sword is a disturbing look at the evolution of Catholic doctrine, particularly as it relates to Christian-Jewish relations. Oscar nominated director Oren Jacob collaborated with Carroll on the project. Carroll is a practicing Catholic who broke with his conservative background in the late 1960s. He chronicled this journey in his 1996 book An American Requiem. Look for Constantine's Sword in big-city theaters, or at festivals. The DVD will go on sale later this year.
Speaking of DVDs, if you are like me and never caught The Wire on HBO, now is the time to go get the DVDs and start with Season One. The series features Dominic West as Irish-American detective Jimmy McNulty, navigating crime and politics in Baltimore. All five excellent seasons of The Wire are now on DVD.