Hibernia: Movie Briefs

Up-and-coming director Damien O'Donnell.

By Irish America Staff
August / September 2000

In a pairing likely to set the big screen on fire, Daniel Day-Lewis is to team up with Martin Scorsese for the director’s upcoming gangster epic, Gangs of New York. The reclusive My Left Foot star, who hasn’t acted in over three years, will join with Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz for the movie, which will feature some of the Irish-American gangs rampant in New York in the past. The film is due to start shooting in August in Rome, and Day-Lewis is to play the lead thug…

When the Sky Falls, the upcoming movie based on the life of murdered Irish journalist Veronica Guerin, opened in Ireland in May to lukewarm reviews. Scripted by New York-based writer Colum McCann, and starring the excellent Joan Allen as Sinead Hamilton (a thinly disguised Guerin), the movie was dismissed by critics from several Dublin newspapers. The movie also features New York-based actor Jimmy Smallhorne, and is due to open stateside later in the year…

Up to 18 producers are currently awaiting a green light from the Irish government to begin filming in Ireland. The country’s tax incentives for visiting filmmakers make Ireland a very attractive place to locate a movie set, and Roger Greene of the Screen Commission of Ireland reports that interest is up by over 100 percent on previous years. Actors currently filming in Ireland include Pierce Brosnan (The Tailor of Panama) and Dan Aykroyd (On the Nose). Other productions due to go ahead later in the summer include The Count of Monte Cristo; Not Afraid, Not Afraid (starring Dianne Wiest), and Yesterday’s Children. Actress Faye Dunaway, who is set to produce and direct her film on Maria Callas, is also interested in shooting in Ireland next spring…

A movie that is enjoying quiet success in the U.S. is East Is East which tells the story of a Pakistani, George Khan, living in London with his long-suffering British wife, and brood of seven half-Pakistani, half-English children. It’s an uphill battle as George tries to inculcate Pakistani traditions into teenagers growing up in England at the height of the counterculture movement.

East Is East marks the directorial debut of Dublin-born Damien O’Donnell, a 38-year-old Irishman who seems destined to follow in the footsteps of Neil Jordan, whose film The Crying Game won him an Academy Award. Like Jordan, O’Donnell is keen on reality-based films that “don’t necessarily have to appeal to the lowest common denominator and the youngest possible audiences. I think it’s been a long time coming,” he says.

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