Irish Eye on Hollywood – Irish America Irish America Magazine Thu, 18 Jul 2019 14:56:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 82361074 Irish Eye on Hollywood: May / June 2019 Wed, 01 May 2019 07:46:45 +0000 Read more..]]> BUCKLE UP FOR BUCKLEY

We may look back on 2019 as the moment the entertainment industry was conquered by Kerry native Jessie Buckley. Earlier this year, Forbes magazine touted the Irish singer-actress on its annual list of “Thirty Under 30” personalities who are about to have a major impact on their various fields. In May, she appeared alongside Oscar nominee Emily Watson, Irish actor Barry Keoghan, and Jared Harris (Irish hellraiser Richard Harris’ son) in the HBO mini-series Chernobyl. A co-production of HBO as well as Britain’s Sky network, Chernobyl looks at the deadly nuclear meltdown of 1986, and the men and women who worked heroically to minimize the damage. Then, in June, Buckley’s British movie Wild Rose makes its way to U.S. theaters. Buckley plays a single mom fresh out of prison who still dreams of making it big as a country music star.

Jessie Buckley.

Buckley has been knocking on the door of American stardom for a decade now, having finished second on the British talent show I’d Do Anything in 2008. After years on the stage and screen, she seems to be having a breakout moment. Down the road, look for Buckley alongside Renée Zellweger as Hollywood legend Judy Garland in Judy, and with Robert Downey Jr. in The Voyage of Dr. Dolittle.



Pierce Brosnan is back for season number two of the AMC western series The Son. Based on Philipp Meyer’s 2013 novel of the same name, The Son stars Brosnan as cattle baron Eli McCullough, who is trying to make inroads into the lucrative oil business. Some have taken shots at the series for what you might call, um, deliberate pacing. But AMC thought enough of the McCullough family trials and tribulations to bring the show back for another season. (Season one consisted of 10 episodes, which are all currently available on Hulu and other streaming services.)

Pierce Brosnan and Philipp Meyer.

Brosnan also remains busy on the movie front. He is currently in New York City shooting False Positive, a horror film also starring Justin Theroux (The Leftovers), Ilana Glazer (Broad City), and Sophia Bush. Brosnan’s completed fantasy film The King’s Daughter (directed by Irish American Sean McNamara) is still awaiting an official release date, while Brosnan’s heist caper The Misfits (with Nick Cannon, directed by Renny Harlin) is in post-production.



Three of Ireland’s most bankable male stars are in summer-popcorn-movie mode, with action flicks coming out in June. First, Michael Fassbender is among the stars of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Fassbender is back – along with James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence – as Magneto in this latest entry in the durable X-Men franchise, which features the mighty misfits forced to go up against one of their own. While on a mission, Jean Grey-Summers (Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner) is struck by a mysterious force, which seems to have affected not just her body but her mind in potentially deadly ways. Looking ahead, Fassbender is slated to appear in Kung Fury II, a follow-up to (deep breath here) a short Swedish film from a few years back, which paid homage to 1980s martial arts and police action movies.

Michael Fassbender as Magneto.

Meanwhile, Liam Neeson is among those in a new reboot of the Men in Black movies, to be released June 14. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have replaced Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as alien hunters in Men in Black: International. Neeson plays the head of the organization fighting to save the planet, which is now based in London. Down the road, Neeson plays a good bad guy alongside Irish American Kate Walsh in the thriller Honest Thief, then the Ballymena native goes home to Northern Ireland for the romantic drama Honest People, written by Belfast native Owen McCafferty.

Liam Neeson.

Finally in June, Cillian Murphy appears in the June 21 release Anna, written and directed by Luc Besson (Lucy, Taken, Taken 2). Anna features Russian model Sasha Luss in the title role as an unlikely killer.

“Beneath Anna Poliatova’s striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the world’s most feared government assassins,” as IMDB put it.

Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders.

For a certain kind of Cillian Murphy fan, of course, the only thing that matters is the release date across the pond for season five of the British crime saga Peaky Blinders, which should be coming soon. Until then, catch up with seasons one through four, all currently streaming on Netflix.



There is an old summertime saying that the weather sometimes gets “hot as hell’s kitchen.” So August is a fitting time for the release of The Kitchen, starring Irish American and two-time Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy, as well as Domhnall Gleeson, Brian d’Arcy James, and Elisabeth Moss. Set in the bad old days of 1970s Manhattan – in the West Side neighborhood known as Hell’s Kitchen – the movie explores what happens when several top Irish crime bosses get arrested. The wives, as it turns out, are just as enterprising as their husbands, and take over their various criminal activities. Based on the graphic novel by Olli Masters and Ming Doyle, The Kitchen will be released on August 9.

Melissa McCarthy.

After that, look for Melissa McCarthy in a high-concept comedy-drama called Super Intelligence, in which her character hears voices coming from household appliances. It turns out she is the subject of a test posed by a highly evolved form of technology – and may or may not hold the fate of humanity in her hands. Super Intelligence hits theaters December 20, 2019.



Northern Ireland is the setting for a wide variety of streaming TV these days. First, on Netflix, there is the surprise hit Derry Girls, featuring Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Erin and Louisa Harland as her cousin Orla. Students at a Catholic school, these girls and their pals are attempting to navigate not only typical coming-of-age struggles, but also the violence of the 1970s Troubles. Season two of Derry Girls has aired already in the U.K. and should arrive in the U.S. soon. A more serious, post-Troubles look at Northern Ireland is The Fall, starring Irishman Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson. A gruesome but gripping crime drama, a long history of violence lingers over all three seasons of The Fall on Netflix.

The Fall stars Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson in a perilous game of cat and mouse.

On the documentary side, The Miami Showband Massacre (on Netflix) explores a fascinating, forgotten musical moment – but also a terrible tragedy – while No Stone Unturned (available for pay on various streaming services) revisits the Loughinisland massacre of 1994, and what appears to be a disturbing cover-up.


It was hard not to chuckle at a recent letter to the editor in the New York Times Book Review, which seemed to be what passes for fighting words in the literary world. But the letter also contained a fascinating bit of news for fans of Irish-American master writer Flannery O’Connor.

It seems that author Donna Leon recently said in a Book Review interview that O’Connor was her favorite “overlooked or underappreciated writer.” Ben Camardi, the literary agent for the Mary Flannery O’Connor Charitable Trust, could not let that go unchallenged.

“O’Connor’s writings are in print in many languages, including French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Polish, Japanese, Russian, Hebrew, Croatian, Serbian, Hungarian, Romanian, Greek, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian. There have been several major conferences [on O’Connor’s works] in Rome, Dublin, and Chicago over the last few years, with others scheduled in future,” writes Camardi.

Mary Flannery O’Connor.

Then comes the big news: “There are movie / television option / purchase agreements in place, and books, articles, and monographs by scholars and academics abound. A major documentary [on O’Connor], now in the final editing, will soon appear.”

A 2017 documentary that aired on PBS was widely described as the first in-depth look at O’Connor’s life on film. A follow-up would be eagerly embraced by O’Connor fans, who are fascinated by her deep, ­­complex Catholicism, her isolated life, and her early death.

I should add that there are many, many such fans of the writer, whose ancestors hailed from County Tipperary.  ♦

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Irish Eye on Hollywood: March / April 2019 Fri, 01 Mar 2019 08:46:04 +0000 Read more..]]> THE IRISHMAN FOR 2020?

It’s time for Academy Award predictions – for 2020!  It’s never too early to look ahead and see which films Hollywood honchos are positioning as Oscar bait, to lure crowds away from their iPhone apps and Netflix accounts. The influential show biz web site ranks The Irishman, Martin Scorsese’s next movie (to be released by Netflix, of course), as the top contender among the movies slated to be released this year, and eligible for next year’s Oscar race.

<em>Caitriona Balfe.</em>

Caitriona Balfe.

Also ranked high for the 2020 Oscar race is a pair of reboots with elite Irish talent – Dumbo, featuring Colin Farrell and Michael Keaton, and Little Women, with Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet. Also tipped for lots of attention next Oscar season is Ford vs. Ferrari, starring Irish actress Caitriona Balfe alongside Matt Damon. Rounding out the 20 or so flicks that are expected to garner heavy awards attention are Ad Astra, an outerspace drama starring Irish actress (and Oscar nominee) Ruth Negga, The Goldfinch, directed by Irishman John Crowley, and Fonzo, a gangster biopic about Al Capone (Tom Hardy), who was married to Irish American Mae Coughlin.





And then on the opposite end of the cinematic spectrum, there are those small but powerful documentaries that make their way around festival circuits and private screenings in the hopes of getting their stories of local characters and color out into the world – and perhaps catching the eyes of a major film company.  One such movie – slated to be screened at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for free this June – is Remember the 27 Crusaders.

This is the story of a historically Irish-American Catholic school in Philadelphia, which sent an extraordinary number of young men to fight in the Vietnam War. In fact, according to the filmmakers, Father Judge High School – located in Northeast Philadelphia – suffered more casualties during the Vietnam War than any other Catholic high school in America.  (The school is named to honor the founder of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, which donated land so that the school could be built.)  The film – directed by Shawn Swords and produced by Irish American Films and Thistle Dew Studio – premiered at Father Judge High School Auditorium in November 2018, and revolves around poignant interviews and memories of the times the service men spent at Judge, and how the war affected their friends and families.  Remember the 27 Crusaders will be shown Wednesday, June 12, at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Keep an eye out for other screenings.




Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer.


It may or may not get Oscar consideration, but you don’t get much more Irish than the blockbuster-to-be summer 2019 release Artemis Fowl. Based on the series of fantasy novels by Wexford native Eoin Colfer, the movie – at least for now, entitled simply Artemis Fowl – will be directed by Belfast native Kenneth Branagh, who has fully shaken off his Shakespearean roots and gone Hollywood. This is just the latest big-budget flick for the BAFTA-winning, Oscar-nominated actor-turned-director, whose recent directorial efforts include ThorCinderella, and Murder on the Orient Express, based on the Agatha Christie novel. The Artemis Fowl movie will also feature Kilkenny youngster Ferdia Shaw in the title role, as well as numerous other Irish and British talent. Meanwhile, Branagh is already looking beyond 2019, having signed on to another Agatha Christie project – a movie based on another of her books, Death on the Nile.




Greta stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert.

Greta stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert.


Irish-born Oscar winner Neil Jordan has been relatively quiet for a decade or so, but he has assembled a strong Irish team of talent in front of and behind the camera for the psychological thriller Greta, slated to hit theaters in March. Written and directed by Jordan (The Crying Game,Michael Collins), Greta stars Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie) as well as Isabelle Huppert in the title role. Moretz plays a young New Yorker who finds a purse belonging to Greta on a subway train. Soon enough, Greta is luring the young woman into a friendship that veers from obsessive to deadly. Greta also features Crying Game star and Belfast native Stephen Rea, as well as Colm Feore (born in Boston to Irish parents), while celebrated Irish cinematographer Seamus McGarvey will collaborate with Jordan behind the camera.




Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.

Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.


Take one English Oscar winner, and one Irish three-time Oscar nominee, and what do you get?  A very unlikely love story.

In March, Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan will begin shooting a film with the working title of Ammonite. The film follows the life and work of Mary Anning, a paleontologist whose fossil discoveries provided important insight to pre-historic life in the United Kingdom. People.comreports: “Set at an English coastal town in the 1820s, the movie will follow Anning (Winslet) and a wealthy woman from London struggling with health issues (Ronan) as they develop an intense relationship.”

The movie will be directed by Francis Lee, whose 2017 drama God’s Own Country was about a romance between two men working together on a farm.

Aside from the aforementioned Little Women, Ronan is also slated to begin shooting Wes Anderson’s latest film The French Dispatch, also featuring Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro and – yes – Kate Winslet.




Amy Ryan is in Maniac.

Amy Ryan is in Maniac.


Art imitates life – and features Gabriel Byrne, and a trio of Irish-American New Yorkers – in the dark, forthcoming movie Lost Girls. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Robert Kolker. That novel seems to have been inspired by the numerous missing women who turned up in remote beachfront areas along Long Island. Many of the women had fallen into financial trouble and turned to online prostitution. All in all, as many as 20 women may have fallen victim to the same killer over the last two decades. Lost Girls, slated for release next year, stars Byrne – who can also be seen in the current Netflix show Maniac, alongside Jonah Hill and Emma Stone – as well as Amy Ryan, Dean Winters, and Kevin Corrigan. All three of these Hollywood vets have New York Irish roots. Ryan – who took her mother’s name, rather than her birth name Dziewiontkowski – has appeared on shows ranging from The Office to The Wire, while Winters played prisoner Ryan O’Reilly on Oz, and Johnny Gavin on the Irish-American TV drama Rescue Me. Finally, Corrigan is entering his fourth decade in show biz, having appeared in films ranging from Goodfellas to The Departed.





The hunger for post-apocalyptic stories only seems to be getting stronger, so Irish star-in-the-making Barry Keoghan – after doing serious historical Irish fare such as Black ’47 and the Belfast drama ’71 – has signed on to an FX TV series with a big-time sci-fi twist. Keoghan will star in a series simply entitled Y, and based on the book Y: The Last Man, which explores a world where some sort of terrible disaster has wiped away – get this – all male mammals, with the exception of one male human being. Y also stars Diane Lane, Imogen Poots and – fittingly for Keoghan – the California-reared actress Marin Ireland. The series will also star Timothy Hutton as the U.S. president. Which means there are already two males in the cast. But, hey, it’s a post-apocalyptic world. So anything can happen.





Finally, Irish broadcaster RTÉ has a surprise hit with the Easter Rising mini series Rebellion (currently streaming on Netflix), so it’s no surprise they went ahead and produced a sequel. Entitled Resistance, the film dramatizes the events of the Irish War for Independence, the guerrilla battle between Irish republicans and the British, which raged from roughly 1919 to 1921. The bloodshed lasted until the infamous peace agreement which partitioned Ireland – and led to further fighting, this time between the Irish themselves. Keep an eye out for Resistance, which will surely make its way to the U.S. ♦

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Irish Eye on Hollywood: Scary Joy for Ciaran Foy Sat, 22 Dec 2018 08:49:30 +0000 Read more..]]> It will certainly be a happy new year for Dublin born director Ciaran Foy. Foy is the director of the upcoming horror film Eli, featuring Lili Taylor and Sadie Sink, as well as Anglo-Irish actress Kelly Reilly, best known for roles in Flight and Calvary. Eli is about a young boy undergoing treatment for a crippling disease at a creepy, isolated clinic. Soon enough, Eli’s suspicions about the clinic’s creepiness are confirmed, and the demons haunting the facility may get to him before his disease does. Look for Eli to be released in early January 2019. Foy is making quite a name for himself in the American horror/supernatural market, having previously directed scary flicks such as Sinister 2 and Citadel. Meanwhile, Kelly Reilly has not only been busy with movies. Look for her once again as the lead female character, Beth Dutton, in the Kevin Costner western series Yellowstone, which will begin its second season on the Paramount Network in mid-2019. ♦

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Irish Eye on Hollywood: Balfe & Kennedy Race to the Silver Screen Sat, 22 Dec 2018 08:48:51 +0000 Read more..]]> Irish actress and Golden Globe nominee Caitriona Balfe is branching out from the excellent work she has been doing for several years now on the Starz network show Outlander. In 2019, Balfe­­ ­– a Dublin native – will appear alongside Christian Bale and Matt Damon in Ford v. Ferrari, directed by James Mangold, known for gritty flicks such as Cop Land and Walk the Line, as well as the Wolverine movies. Ford vs. Ferrari is about the American team (prompted by Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca, among others) that set out to design and build a vehicle that could finally defeat the Ferrari team at the 1966 Le Mans auto race in France. Look for Ford v. Ferrari in the summer of 2019. Balfe will also have plenty of Irish company when Outlander returns for season number five in 2019. Irish star Maria Doyle Kennedy has signed on to return for another season on the time-traveling show, this time playing a blind slave owner in colonial America. For two decades now, Kennedy has nicely balanced an acting career, with roles in movies such as Sing Street and Jupiter Ascending, with an equally impressive singing career. ♦

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Irish Eye on Hollywood: The Irish Laurel and Hardy Sat, 22 Dec 2018 08:47:36 +0000 Read more..]]> What do you get when you cast an Irish American, alongside an Irish Englishman, alongside a Scotswoman with a history of playing Irish roles?

A Laurel and Hardy movie, of course! With all of the scenes spliced together by an Irish film editor.

John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan star in the January 2019 release Stan & Ollie. The film is a serious look at the struggles and successes of the famed black-and-white comedy duo. Stan Laurel was a Brit, while Oliver Hardy was an American from Georgia. But Irish American comic masterminds Leo McCarey and Hal Roach decided to put them together in movies, starting with 1927’s The Second Hundred Years, and the rest, as they say, is slapstick history. Stan & Ollie also features Scottish actress Shirley Henderson, who has appeared in Irish films such as Intermission. Directed by Jon S. Baird, Stan & Ollie was also edited by Úna Ní Dhonghaíle, who has done lots of TV editing for shows such as The Crown and Wallander♦

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Irish Eye on Hollywood: Traveling Back in Time Sat, 22 Dec 2018 08:46:56 +0000 Read more..]]> It would make sense if Outlander – with its Irish cast and time-traveling concept – inspired Irish writer and director Steve Kenny to create his film Time Traveller, which may well earn an Academy Award for Best Short Film. But the real inspiration was the 1980s classic Back to the Future. Time Traveller is about a father and son who are members of Ireland’s traveling community. The son is so obsessed with the Michael J. Fox flick that he sets out to build an exact replica of the DeLorean car that plays a central role in the movie. But things take a serious turn when the family is evicted from the site they’ve made their home. Word is the film even has the blessing of Back to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale as well as star Michael J. Fox. “It was a real privilege for me to be able to tell an original story that was close to my heart while also paying homage to a film that left a huge impact on me as a child…. building our own DeLorean was pretty cool too!” Kenny has said. Time Traveller has a fine blend of veteran and new Irish talent, including Barry Ward (Maze) and Barbara Bergin (Intermission), as well as new-coming young brothers Tom and Liam Doran. Keep an eye out when Oscar nominations are announced in late February 2019. ♦

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Irish Eye on Hollywood: Neeson’s Back in Black and White Sat, 22 Dec 2018 08:45:28 +0000 Read more..]]> As always, there is plenty of news on the Liam Neeson front. Look for the hunk from Ballymena in February 2019 in the action thriller Cold Pursuit, alongside Laura Dern and Emmy Rossum. Then, when things warm up in the summer, Neeson will appear in the latest entry in the Men in Black franchise, simply entitled MIB. This time around, the MIB team shifts to Europe, with a London-based team of alien-chasers saving the world from killer ghouls. Neeson stars in MIB along with Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Rebecca Ferguson. Finally, just in case you forgot Neeson has the acting chops to appear in serious cinematic fare, Schindler’s List returned to select movie theaters in December, to mark the 25th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s epic Holocaust drama. Neeson, of course, played the title character, who saved over 1,000 Jews during World War II. Often forgotten amidst the hype of Schindler’s List is the fact that it was based on a novel by acclaimed Australian-Irish writer Thomas Keneally. ♦

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Irish Eye on Hollywood: The Gleaming Gleesons Sat, 22 Dec 2018 08:44:44 +0000 Read more..]]> Gleeson family update: Don’t look now, Domhnall, but you’re no longer the only son of Brendan Gleeson making waves in show biz.  In recent years, Brian Gleeson has had roles in films such as the controversial Mother! and alongside Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread. He can also be seen in the much buzzed-about TV show (now available in the U.S. on Hulu) The Bisexual. And 2019 is also shaping up to be a good one for Gleeson. He has roles slated in a reboot of the Hellboy franchise alongside Milla Jovovich and Ian McShane, and will also appear in Season 5 of the English-Irish 1920s gangster drama Peaky Blinders, alongside Cillian Murphy. (All four previous seasons of Peaky Blinders are currently available on Netflix. Two words: Binge it!) But don’t feel too bad for Brian’s brother Domhnall Gleeson: Aside from a role in the forthcoming Irish New York gangster flick The Kitchen (expected in the fall of 2019), he will also reprise his role as General Hux in a little franchise you might have heard of known as Star Wars in December 2019.  And of course, Brian and Domhnall’s dad Brendan continues to work. He was in the recent Coen Brothers western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (where he sang an amazing version of “The Streets of Laredo”) and will be seen in the late-2019 love story Frankie, alongside Greg Kinnear and Marisa Tomei. ♦

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Irish Eye on Hollywood: Dornan’s Wars Sat, 22 Dec 2018 08:43:31 +0000 Read more..]]> Jamie Dornan is working feverishly to branch out from the Fifty Shades franchise, taking on roles in an eclectic mix of offbeat and serious projects.  Not long ago, he was in the campy HBO flick My Dinner with Hervé, playing a journalist who gets caught up in the vortex of ’70s celebrity with Hervé Villechaize. Villechaize had his 15 minutes of fame thanks to a starring role on the cheesy TV hit Fantasy Island. On the other end of the seriousness spectrum, Dornan appeared in the November film A Private War, about war correspondent Marie Colvin. Down the road, keep an eye out on streaming services or DVD queues for Dornan in the RTÉ mini-series Death and Nightingales, based on Irish writer Eugene McCabe’s novel.  Set during the notorious Fenian dynamite campaign of the 1880s, Dornan plays a charming young man who crosses paths with a sheltered Irish girl who is looking to break free from her oppressive stepfather. Dornan’s co-star, Wexford native Ann Skelly, has been earning rave reviews of her own, and was recently dubbed “a rising star you’ll want to keep an eye on,” by ♦

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Irish Eye on Hollywood: Angela’s Christmas Sat, 22 Dec 2018 08:42:07 +0000 Read more..]]> Just in time for Christmas, Netflix has produced a 30 minute animated movie based on a Frank McCourt’s story rooted in his memoir Angela’s Ashes. Entitled Angela’s Christmas, the sentimental cartoon may well earn its place alongside Charlie Brown’s Christmas and The Year Without a Santa Claus when it comes to future holiday favorites. Angela’s Christmas features the voice work of Irish actress and Academy Award nominee Ruth Negga (Loving), and is narrated by Malachy McCourt. The film was directed by Irishman Damien O’Connor, who recently said: “The story is ultimately about family with warmth representing love. That connected into everything – visually you have the blue and gold in almost every shot with gold representing love. As Angela moves through the story she moves from the cold blues into the warmth, eventually ending up fully basked in the gold heat of the family fire.” ♦

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