The former “Tudors” and “Dracula” star played Michael Collins' assassin in Neil Jordan’s movie “Michael Collins” He also played a leading role in the Irish Civil War drama, “The Wind That Shakes the Barley.”
The 38-year-old star has been cast alongside “The Fall” and BBC’s “Merlin” star Colin Morgan as Sean Mac Diarmada. “The Rising’s” script sees the events of Easter 1916 from the point of view of Mac Diarmada, a Leitrim-born activist and leader, a member of the Military Committee of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and a signatory of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. He was one of those executed.
Liam Neeson’s son, Micheal (20), is cast as Michael Collins. In 1996 his father played the title role in Jordan’s movie.
“Downton Abbey's” Brendan Coyle will play Chief Secretary for Ireland, Augustine Birrell.
“Braveheart” actor David O'Hara has been cast as James Connolly.
RTE reported that Sean Penn has approached to play the role of Thomas Clarke.
The movie has been co-written by Cavan filmmaker Kevin McCann. Set to focus on the events of the Easter Rising from Mc Diarmada’s perspective, the movie, currently seeking investment, will begin production in Ireland and Estonia in the New Year.
McCann told RTE the movie needs $2.7 million to go into production. At present he has “about half of that, mostly based in the United States.”
“Seán Mac Diarmada is the son of a farmer who took on the world's largest empire and was executed for it. If that's not the story for a wonderful, universal motion picture I don't know what is.”
McCann told the Anglo Celt newspaper the movie will be filmed in Ireland and London over the coming weeks. The Irish filmmaker has returned to Europe to seal the deal following a six-city US tour, where the movie received backing from international investors.
McCann said, “Things are very much on track. The team and myself are very confident about the film and where we are with it.”
He added, “We need people to get behind this project. We’re making history here. I’ve known it since the day I started researching in 2012. Other countries and cultures rightly celebrate their heroes in cinema over and over again. Can you imagine Americans not wanting to talk about 1776?
“What is most pleasing is the script itself has been received positively. Other 1916 scripts had been bandied about for years and one of the reasons they didn’t get made is because the support wasn’t there. When you get people like David O’Hara and Liam Neeson, the likes of Fiona Shaw reading your script and saying they love it, you’ve achieved something, and you at least hope you’re on the right track,” he says.
For more information visit www.therising.ie.