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Fiona Shaw will star with Sean Penn and Brad Pitt in "Tree of Life"

The Irish goss in Hollywood

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Fiona Shaw will star with Sean Penn and Brad Pitt in "Tree of Life"

Irish-American Queens native Amy Ryan has at least three movies coming out in 2009, with another prestigious project about to begin shooting.

Look for Ryan (best known for her Oscar-nominated turn as the troubled Southie Mom in Ben Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone”) in “Bob Funk,” “The Missing Person” and “Green Zone.” The film also stars Matt Damon (who portrayed another Boston Irish-American in “Good Will Hunting”) and was directed by Paul Greengrass, whose many credits include the Northern Ireland docudrama “Bloody Sunday”.

Meanwhile, Ryan is about to begin shooting “Jack Goes Boating,” a film which will mark the directorial debut of Philip Seymour Hoffman, fresh off his Oscar-nominated role as a Bronx Irish priest in “Doubt.”

Heath Ledger’s role as The Joker in “The Dark Knight” was hailed by many, in part because it was believed to be the last time we would see the actor, who died in January of 2008.

But Ledger was actually shooting “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” when he died. Director Terry Gilliam later asked numerous Hollywood A-listers to help complete the film, which will be out later this year. Among the actors who will be seen as stand-ins for Ledger is Dublin star Colin Farrell. Jude Law will also appear in the film. Gilliam is the Monty Python alum and visionary director behind such films as “Brazil,” “Time Bandits” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

Later, Farrell will team up with teenaged Irish acting prodigy Saoirse Ronan as well as Ed Harris to begin shooting “The Way Back,” a World War II drama from director Peter Weir (“Dead Poets Society,” “The Truman Show”).

After his big-time buzz at the Oscars, Sean Penn’s next project is “Tree of Life,” which also stars Brad Pitt and Irish actress Fiona Shaw. “Tree of Life” is an updated spin on the fountain of youth myth. The characters in the film strive to locate the titular tree in the belief that it will give them everlasting life. Expect this to be an unorthodox film, as it is being directed by Terrence Malick, who directed Colin Farrell in “The New World” as well as other critical faves such as “The Thin Red Line,” “Days of Heaven” and “Badlands.”

Cork native Fiona Shaw is best known for her stage work, including memorable collaborations with Deborah Warner. However, she has also been appearing in many movies in recent years, including several of the blockbuster Harry Potter movies.

“Tree of Life” is currently in post-production and should be released by the end of the year.


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