Irish Eye on Hollywood


Meanwhile, Aidan Quinn, the quintessential working actor, just keeps on working. In March, look for Quinn in the inspirational true story The Fifth Quarter. Also starring Ryan Merriman and Andie McDowell, The Fifth Quarter is about the Abbate family, whose son Luke died in a terrible car accident. Luke’s brother went on to play football at Wake Forest, and thus began a poignant tradition in which the final quarter of every Wake Forest game came to be known as Luke’s quarter – or “The Fifth Quarter.” Quinn plays family patriarch Steven Abbate, whose deceased son had already made the world a better place by donating his organs following his death. The family now spearheads efforts to educate teens about the dangers of reckless driving. Look for The Fifth Quarter to hit screens March 25.

Cillian Murphy, fresh off the blockbuster Inception and the Irish gangster flick Perrier’s Bounty, will star alongside Robert DeNiro and Sigourney Weaver in the Rodrigo Cortes-directed thriller Red Lights. Weaver plays a psychology professor studying paranormal activity, who becomes fascinated by the world-renowned psychic played by DeNiro. Murphy plays the love interest of Elizabeth Olsen, one of Weaver’s students.

Crying Game thespian Stephen Rea is among the stars of an upcoming BBC thriller The Shadow Line.  Rea is slated to play a character described by RTE as a “brilliantly lethal puppet master.” The seven-part series will also star Christopher Eccleston and Antony Sher and takes a multi-layered look at the murder investigation of a crime boss. Rea remains busy off-screen as well. Recently he lobbied the Northern Irish government to avoid deep cuts to arts programs. “We should be proud of …the actors, directors, script writers, lighting engineers, set designers, costume designers and make-up artists from Northern Ireland who have gone on to develop successful stage, film and TV careers, learned and developed their craft at local theatre venues. If it weren’t for the initial investment in our home-grown product and talent, so much opportunity would be lost to Northern Ireland,” said Rea.

The Irish Film and Television Awards are an important guide to emerging Irish film talent and the big winner this year was Juanita Wilson’s As If I Am Not There, about the Bosnian War. The movie nabbed best film, best director and best script. Last year, the Dublin-born Wilson received an Oscar nomination for her short The Door, and was dubbed a rising star by closely-read Variety Magazine. Other movies that garnered praise at this year’s IFTAs were Perrier’s Bounty, Swansong: The Story of Occi Byrne, The Runway and Sensation.

One final note originating from the other side of the Atlantic is a new documentary called Born Fighting about the Scots Irish. Based on the book of the same name by U.S. senator James Webb, the film recently aired on TV in Scotland, and it’s a good bet it will soon be available to U.S. viewers. Webb convincingly argues that the Scots Irish have had a profound impact on U.S. history, yet are rarely discussed, or are mentioned only in the context of redneck stereotypes.