Minister Jimmy Deenihan said the Oscar-winning Hollywood mogul Spielberg came across the figure of O’Connell and was inspired, while he was researching for the movie “Lincoln,” starring Daniel Day Lewis.
Speaking at the revived Daniel O’Connell Summer School in Cahersiveen and Derrynane, County Kerry, the minister said that when he mentioned O’Connell to the Hollywood director and Day-Lewis they said they had already discussed making a movie about the Irish lawyer who campaigned and won Catholic emancipation in Ireland.
Deenihan hopes to discuss the project with Spielberg and Day-Lewis in the United States during his November visit.
He said, “I certainly think there is a major film in O’Connell – I recently met Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis and I mentioned O’Connell to them and gave them Professor Patrick Geoghegan’s book on O’Connell and they had already discussed it before I mentioned it which is very encouraging.
“Nothing is certain but the success of “Lincoln” makes a stronger case for O’Connell who was a friend of Frederick Douglas, who was an influence on Lincoln – it would have an international appeal given O’Connell’s role in the anti-slavery campaign as well as in both Jewish and Catholic emancipations.
“Hopefully something will come of it because O’Connell is certainly a figure worthy of a major film treatment.”
Also speaking at the event was historian Prof John A Murphy who called on the Irish State to honor the father of Irish democracy by officially declaring a Daniel O’Connell memorial day.
Here's a Gathering video of the stars in Dublin for the European "Lincoln" premier speaking about Ireland: