Irish eye on hollywood Tom Deignan The Irish and boxing are longtime Hollywood staples from J
Irish eye on hollywood
The Irish and boxing are longtime Hollywood staples, from John Wayne as the reluctant slugger in The Quiet Man right up to Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man and Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby. In December, a Cork-born writer-director and quirky American actor are going to take their shot at the genre with Strength and Honor.
Buzz on the film is solid. True, one gossip web site said the film combines a couple of genres - the "poor and miserable Irish people movie and the boxing movie," but Strength and Honor (written and directed by Mark Mahon) did win Best Picture and Best Actor at the recent Boston Film Festival.
It was the first time a single movie nabbed these two awards. Strength and Honor is about an Irish-American boxer (Michael Madsen, best known for his psycho ear-chopping role in Reservoir Dogs), who may have to break a promise he made to his wife when he finds out his son is dying.
The wife, by the way, is also dead. So, yes, it appears this movie is heavy on the Irish trauma. It also explores the underground world of Irish travelers and their penchant for bare-knuckle boxing.
Strength and Honor was filmed in Mahon's native Cork last year and also stars Patrick Bergin, Richard Chamberlain and Vinnie Jones.
After his triumph at the Boston Film fest, Mahon said: "To win top awards at such a prestigious festival is surreal - competition was fierce this year with a large number of high profile titles competing. We're absolutely ecstatic that Michael Madsen won for his superb lead performance."
Meanwhile, the Irish ring chronicles continue with buzz building about a Brad Pitt-Mark Wahlberg pairing. The dynamic duo is slated to star in The Fighter, a film based on the life of "Irish" Mickey Ward.
Pitt is expected to play Ward's half-brother Dickie Eklund, a tough boxer in his own right, who pushed Ward to the top of the fight game.
Critically-acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream) is shooting the movie. In recent interviews, Wahlberg has said he idolized Irish Mickey Ward while growing up in working-class Dorchester, Massachusetts. Ward grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts.
"Mickey Ward was, in my opinion, one of the greatest champions of all time, and the biggest heart that ever stepped into the ring," Wahlberg recently said. "I am committed to making him proud, and I know that Brad feels the same way about portraying his brother Dickie. We are going to make it real." The Fighter is slated for release in 2009.
It's not exactly a happy holiday film, but Daniel Day-Lewis' epic There Will Be Blood is set for release the day after Christmas. Directed by hip auteur Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love), the movie is based on a novel by muckraker Upton Sinclair and looks at corruption following the discovery of oil in Texas. Oil? Corruption? Texas? It's safe to say a few reviewers are going to see echoes of the present day in this historical movie.
Colin Farrell will star alongside Ewan McGregor in Woody Allen's next movie Cassandra's Dream, due for release in late November. In yet another British-set movie for the New York directing legend, Cassandra's Dream follows English brothers lured into a life of crime.