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Post by Admin on Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:05 pm

Posted: Tue., Sep. 4, 2012, 8:35am PT
Fassbender, Gleeson set for 'Frank'
Lenny Abrahamson to direct Film4 comedy
By Jeff Sneider

Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson are attached to star in Film4's comedy "Frank."

Lenny Abrahamson will direct from a script by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan.

Film4 will co-finance the pic with the Irish Film Board.

Gleeson will play an aspiring musician who finds himself in over his head when he joins an eccentric rock band led by Fassbender.

Pic is a co-production between Runaway Fridge and Element Pictures, produced by David Barron, Ed Guiney and Stevie Lee.

Abrahamson's latest film "What Richard Did" sees its world preem at the Toronto Intl Film Fest. International sales on both films are handled by Protagonist Pictures.

Fassbender is currently filming Ridley Scott's "The Counselor." Gleeson, who was recently named one of Variety's 10 Actors to Wtch, can be seen next in Working Title's "Anna Karenina."

Fassbender is repped by CAA and Troika and Gleeson is repped by Paradigm and The Agency.

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Post by Admin on Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:06 pm

Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson to star in IFB funded FRANK
4th Sep 2012
Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave, Prometheus, Shame) and Domhnall Gleeson (True Grit, Harry Potter, Anna Karenina) are attached to star in Lenny Abrahamson's next project FRANK.

FRANK is written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats) and has been developed by Film4 who will also co-finance the film with Bord Scannán na hEireann/ the Irish Film Board.

FRANK is a comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Gleeson), who discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Fassbender).

Speaking on the announcement, producer Ed Guiney of Element Pictures commented that: ‘FRANK is a wonderfully funny script which brings together Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson and Lenny Abrahamson three of the most exciting Irish talents working in cinema today'.

James Hickey, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board (IFB) added "We are delighted to be working with Element Pictures and Film4 on this exciting project. Lenny is a great Irish filmmaker while Michael and Domhnall are exceptional world class Irish actors making this project a wonderful opportunity for the Irish Film Board to support Irish talent on the world stage."

Fassbender, who won Best Actor in Venice in 2011 for his performance in Steve McQueen's Shame, is currently shooting Ridley Scott's The Counselor alongside Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz, while Domhnall Gleeson recently finished shooting Richard Curtis' new comedy About Time, and was recently named as one of Variety's '10 Actors to Watch'.

FRANK will mark the fourth feature film collaboration between Abrahamson and Element Pictures. Past features include Garage, which won the CICAE Prize in Cannes 2007, and Adam & Paul which won Best Director award at the Irish Film and TV Awards. Abrahamson's current film What Richard Did will premiere at the Toronto Film festival in mid-September and is being released in Irish cinemas on October 5th through Element Pictures Distribution.

FRANK is a co-production between Runaway Fridge and Element Pictures and will be produced by David Barron, Ed Guiney and Stevie Lee. Exec producers for Film4 are Tessa Ross and Katherine Butler and for Element Pictures, Andrew Lowe. Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales. FRANK is scheduled to commence principal photography late 2012.

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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:17 pm

Fassbender's Frank 'not Sidebottom'

(UKPA) – 1 day ago

Michael Fassbender's new comedy Frank is not "a Frank Sidebottom film", the director has said.

The Shame star has signed up to play the title character in Frank - a new film inspired by eccentric papier mache-headed comic creation Frank Sidebottom.

But Irish director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Jon Ronson took to Twitter to explain the character is inspired by several other people as well. The other inspirations included schizophrenic musician Daniel Johnston and eccentric singer and painter Captain Beefheart.

Abrahamson tweeted: "It was inspired by him but the Frank of the film is also inspired by Daniel Johnson, beefheart and has a v different biography than either Frank Sidebottom or the great Chris S. Ours is American, never takes head off, is in an avant garde band...etc. [sic]"

Sidebottom, the creation of comic and singer Chris Sievey who died of cancer two years ago, was a self-styled aspiring singer-songwriter from Timperley, Greater Manchester.

Ronson tweeted: "It's totally made up and - whilst inspired by Frank - is inspired by other people too."

The film, written by Ronson and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy screenwriter Peter Straughan, will also star Harry Potter actor Domhnall Gleeson as a wannabe musician, Jon, who joins Frank's band.

Ronson said he was "bowled over" that Michael and Domhnall had signed up to the film.

Filming on the production, which is a collaboration between Film4 and the Irish Film Board, starts later this year.

Copyright © 2012 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:18 pm

Stars banding together for indie music film

By Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

Saturday September 08 2012

IRISH stars Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson will sing and play their own instruments in a new film by director Lenny Abrahamson.

Producer Ed Guiney revealed last night that Gleeson is already having intensive piano lessons to shoot scenes in which he joins an avant-garde band led by a mysterious and enigmatic frontman played by Fassbender.

"Both Michael and Domhnall can play instruments already so they want to form a real band for the film. Domhnall is taking it so seriously, he is having intensive piano lessons to improve his style," Mr Guiney told the Irish Independent.

The Irish Film Board is believed to be investing €500,000 in 'Frank', with Film 4 and other UK backers bringing the budget to €4m. It will begin shooting in Ireland this December.

A fictional tale inspired by left-field figures including schizophrenic US musician Daniel Johnston, singer and painter Captain Beefheart and Manchester's Frank Sidebottom, the film has attracted "huge" international interest, said Mr Guiney.

"We've got two of the most in-demand actors on the planet right now. I've never know this much interest in a film before we have even shot a frame," he said.

Fassbender is no stranger to music having formed a heavy metal band in his hometown of Killarney as a teenager.

"There was just one other guy in my band and he played guitar also," he said.

"It's always hard to find a drummer and a bass player in a small town, so we just went out as we were. We only played one gig. It was a little pub at lunchtime and we were trying to play Metallica and they kept telling us to turn it down," said Fassbender.

Gleeson grew up in Malahide, on the northside of Dublin, and is a close frond of local band Delorentos.

- Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

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Post by Admin on Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:53 pm

Abrahamson’s ‘Frank’ Offered €1m in Irish Film Board Funding
17 Oct 2012 : By Steve Cummins
Lenny Abrahamson
Lenny Abrahamson’s forthcoming feature film ‘Frank’ has been offered €1m in the latest round of Irish Film Board funding.

The Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson-starring project is one of 59 projects that have been offered development, distribution or production support in the third round of funding this year.

Abrahamson’s feature – which will begin shooting in December and is being co-produced by Element Pictures – received the largest offer of support.

Other notable offers were made to Treasure Entertainment for Vivienne DeCourcy’s ‘Wild’ (€300,000); Samson Films’ ‘The Sea’ (€220,000) and Tidal Productions’ ‘Oops…Noah Is Gone!’, which has been offered €350,000.

A documentary directed by Michael Madsen, entitled ‘The Visit’, has been offered a provisional offer of commitment.

Two projects which have already been completed were offered a total of €100,000 in production loans. Kirsten Sheridan’s ‘Dollhouse’ has been offered €20,000 while Lance Daly’s ‘Life’s A Breeze’ has been offered €80,000.

In total more than €2.4m has been offered in production loans by the IFB. The Film Board has also offered more than €491,500 in development loans and nearly €210,000 in distribution funding. The total funding on offer is €3.13m.

Among the writers and filmmakers offered development loans for projects are Kirsten Sheridan, ‘Skippy Dies’ writer Paul Murray, Ian Fitzgibbon and Ron Hutchinson.

Sizable distribution offers were made to Element Distribution which has been offered €150,000 of the €209,750 offered for two projects - ‘Grabbers’ and ‘What Richard Did’. Both projects have received €75,000.

The full list of projects offered funding are:

Production Loans

Project Director Writer Production Co Funding
Fiction Feature Films
Frank Lenny Abrahamson Jon Ronson & Peter Straughan Element Pictures €1,000,000
Wild Vivienne DeCourcy Vivienne DeCourcy Treasure Entertainment €300,000
Life's A Breeze Lance Daly Lance Daly Fastnet Films €80,000
The Canal Ivan Kavanagh Ivan Kavanagh Park Films Provisional Offer of Commitment
Dollhouse Kirsten Sheridan Kirsten Sheridan Warehouse Pictures €20,000
Fiction Creative Co-Production
The Sea Stephen Browne John Banvillle Samson Films €220,000
The F Word Michael Dowse Elan Mastai Fastnet Films €80,000
Oops...Noah Is Gone! Sean McCormack & Toby Genkel Richie Conroy & Mark Hodkinson Tidal Productions €350,000
The Dual Terry Pratchett Giant Creative €30,000
Forest Evelyn McGrath & Kris Kelly Evelyn McGrath & Kris Kelly Blacknerth Studios €25,500
Yximaloo Tadhg O'Sullivan Research Bureau €25,000
Taking The Boat Tom Roberts Mark O'Halloran Soho Moon Pictures €25,000
The Swan Song Of Eliza Lynch Alan Gilsenan Coco Television €35,500
Richard Ford: Borderlines Pat Collins Harvest Films Provisional Offer of Commitment
Slow Food Story Stefano Sardo Element Pictures €15,000
Born John Burke, Died Mohammad Omar Ross McDonnell Fastnet Films €90,000
Get The Picture Cathy Pearson Ferndale Films €25,000
The Visit Michael Madsen Venom Provisional Offer Of Commitment
Completion Fund
Black Ice Johnny Gogan Brian Leyden Bandit Film & Still Films €50,000
Roadside Joe Comerford Puddle Films €15,000
First Stage Documentary
Angel Viko Nikci Samson Films €15,000
Antikythera Christina Gangos Three Legged Dog Films €8,000
Waking Morag Tintos Soho Moon Pictures €5,000
Circus On The Road Dieter Auner Ikandi Productions €5,000
Stadium & Street Michael Doyle Cutstone Productions €10,000
Unbreakable Ross Whitaker True Films €5,000

Development Loans

Project Director Writer Production Co Funding
First Draft Loans
Island Ian Fitzgibbon Ian Fitzgibbon & Deirdre Kinahan €16,000
The Estate Lorcan Finnegan Garrett Shanley €16,000
A Million Miles An Hour Brendan Grant €12,000
The Son Of God Ivan Kavanagh €12,000
Pikey King Carmel Winters €12,000
Black Rainbows Hugh O'Connor Paul Murray €16,000
Prison Movie Kirsten Sheridan €12,000
To Chicago Barry Devlin €12,000
Detox John Butler €12,000
Fiction Development Loans
Big Silver Lining Paul Durnin Paul Durnin & Mark Doherty Angelo Films €15,000
La Domestique Ciaran Cassidy Blinder Films €12,000
Frost Island Michael Kinirons Mia Ylonen Blinder Films €10,000
The Legend Of Longwood Lisa Mulcahy N. Kemper & G. Eckhaus Grand Pictures €10,000
Family Remains Gaby Dellal Eoin O'Connor Grand Pictures €12,000
Appetite Johnny Ferguson Igloo Films €20,000
Ted & Mabel Marian Quinn Marian Quinn Janey Pictures €20,000
Simple Farmers Son Ron Hutchinson Soho Moon Pictures €16,000
Four Letters Of Love Niall Williams Element Pictures €40,000
Good As Gold Colin Carberry & Glenn Patterson Wall Of Sleep Productions €20,000
Harms Way Cathal Black Adam Rynne Blinder Films €10,000
Annie Likes This Rebecca O'Flanagan Treasure Entertainment €14,000
Dark Zone Anders Banke Tom Cosgrove Fantastic Films €10,000
Animation Development Loans
Nightglider Darragh O'Connell Jeremy Shipp Brown Bag Films €15,000
My Fathers Dragon Nora Twomey M. Le Fauve & J. Morgan Parallel Film Productions €30,000
Maya Gor Gerry Gill G. Gill & D. Stack Wiggleywoo Limited €25,000
What Will Katy Be? Jody Gannon Peter Reeves Treehouse Republic €37,000
Tipto Andrew Kavanagh Andrew Kavanagh Kavaleer Productions €25,000
Papa's Boy Levi Lemmetty Levi Lemmetty Ink & Light €26,500

Distribution Loans

Project Director Writer Production Co Funding
Print Provision
Men At Lunch Eamon O'Cualain Sonta Productions €3,650
Marketing Support
Shadow Dancer James Marsh Tom Bradby Paramount Pictures €27,500
Grabbers Jon Wright Kevin Lehane Element Distribution €75,000
What Richard Did Lenny Abrahamson Malcolm Campbell Element Distribution €75,000
Dollhouse Kirsten Sheridan Kirsten Sheridan Eclipse Pictures €28,600


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Post by Admin on Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:54 pm

About Irish Film / News /
High Levels of Production Set For Last Quarter of 2012
16th Oct 2012
The last quarter of 2012 is set to be a busy one with numerous productions supported by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) currently shooting or set to start across the country with well known Irish and international acting talent such as Michael Fassbender, Juliette Binoche, Brendan Gleeson, Ciaran Hinds and Charlotte Rampling.

Principal photography is underway on John Michael McDonagh's follow-up to the hugely successful The Guard CALVARY; the screen adaptation of John Banville's Man Booker Prize winning novel THE SEA; the first Irish-Russian co-production MOSCOW NEVER SLEEPS and the major US TV series VIKINGS. While Lenny Abrahamson's FRANK starring Michael Fassbender; Cartoon Saloon's animated feature film SONG OF THE SEA; the Irish-Norwegian-Swedish co-production A THOUSAND TIMES GOODNIGHT and the BBC TV drama QUIRKE are all set to go into production before the end of the year.

CALVARY directed by John Michael McDonagh is currently filming in Dublin having moved production from Sligo. The dark comedy stars Brendan Gleeson as a Sligo priest who is tormented by his parishioners after he is threatened during a confession. The stellar Irish cast also includes Dylan Moran, Domhnall Gleeson, Aidan Gillen, David Wilmot, Pat Shortt and Chris O'Dowd.

Stephen Brown's directorial debut THE SEA stars Ciaran Hinds (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Munich), Charlotte Rampling (Melancholia, The Duchess), Natascha McElhone (Californication, The Truman Show), Rufus Sewell (The Illusionist), and Sinead Cusack (V for Vendetta). The screen adaptation of John Banville's critically acclaimed Man Booker Prize winning novel is currently shooting in Wexford with post production scheduled to take place in Windmill Lane.
The first Irish-Russian co-production MOSCOW NEVER SLEEPS is written and directed by Johnny O'Reilly (The Weather Station). The multi-narrative drama set in contemporary Moscow is currently shooting in Moscow with post production set for Ireland.

Morgan O'Sullivan's €30m History Channel series VIKINGS is currently in the middle of an 18 week shoot at Ashford studios in Co. Wicklow with Gabriel Byrne and Travis Fimmel among the lead cast. The nine-part series was created and written by Michael Hirst (The Tudors, Camelot).

Following the critically acclaimed What Richard Did which was released in Irish cinemas this month, Lenny Abrahamson's next project FRANK is due to start pre-production before the end of the year. Starring Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson, the film is a comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Gleeson), who discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Fassbender).

Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) will star in Irish co-production A THOUSAND TIMES GOOD NIGHT which will shoot for five weeks in Dublin later this month followed by two weeks in Morocco. The French actress plays the lead role of Rebekka, a war photographer torn between the job and her family.

Cartoon Saloon's animated feature film SONG OF THE SEA will be directed by Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells) who co-wrote it with Will Collins (My Brothers). It tells the story of the last Seal Child's journey home. Ben and Saoirse sent to live with Granny in the city following their mother's disappearance. Their attempts to get back home lead them through a world of fairytale lands from their mother's folklore tales. The film will be distributed in Ireland and the UK by Optimum Releasing next year.

Based on the books by Benjamin Black (pseudonym of award-winning Irish writer John Banville), QUIRKE is a new series for BBC ONE adapted by screenwriters Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson and starring Gabriel Byrne in the title role. Quirke (we never get to know his Christian name) is the chief pathologist in the Dublin city morgue - a charismatic loner whose job takes him into unexpected places as he uncovers the secrets of sudden death in 1950s Dublin.

More About Calvary
Calvary is directed by John Michael McDonagh (The Guard) and produced by James Flynn and Elizabeth Eves for Octagon and Chris Clark and Flora Fernandez-Marengo for Reprisal Films in the UK. Production design is being undertaken by Mark Geraghty (Ripper Street), Larry Smith is the cinematographer while Emer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh (Becoming Jane) is costume designer.

More About The Sea
The Sea is produced by Luc Roeg (We Need To Talk About Kevin, Mr Nice) and Michael Robinson of Independent with David Collins (Once) of Samson Films. The Sea is an Independent / Samson Films production in association with Rooks Nest Entertainment, Quicksilver Films, Windmill Lane Pictures and RTE with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the participation of Bord Scannán Na hÉireann / The Irish Film Board. The executive producers are Andrew Orr, Philip Herd, Ernest Bachrach, Rebecca Long, Steve Spence, Michael Sackler and Julia Godzinskaya.

Independent Films Sales are handling International Sales and Independent Distribution will release the film theatrically in Ireland and the UK in 2013.

More About Moscow Never Sleeps
Written and directed by Johnny O'Reilly, Moscow Never Sleeps is a multi-narrative drama set in contemporary Moscow which follows the lives of five different people. The film sees the rapid changes in the lives of ta bureaucrat who takes on powerful politicians who have raided his business; an orphan who is forced to abandon the woman who brought him up; a dying actor who leaves his deathbed for one last adventure; a beautiful singer who confronts her stalker; and a neglected teenager who poisons her father.

It is produced by Katie Holly for Blinder Films with Andrey Zakharov for Serdtse Vraga.

More About Vikings
Directors attached to the TV series are Swedish director Johan Renck, Ireland's Ciaran Donnelly (The Tudors) and Ken Girotti (Rescue Me). Emmy award-winning cinematographer John Bartley (The X Files) is the director of photography. Key Irish crew attached to the project include line producer Séamus McInerney, costume designer Joan Bergin and production designer Tom Conroy. Dee Corcoran is looking after hair while Tom McInerney is on make-up.

Morgan O'Sullivan will produce for World 2000 while John Weber will produce for Take 5 Productions. The show's executive producers include Alan Gasmer, Michael Hirst and Sherry Marsh. All post-production on the series will be carried out in Canada. Take 5 Productions are co-producing the series while MGM will distribute it outside of Ireland and Canada. World 2000 will retain the Irish distribution rights.

More About Frank
FRANK is written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats) and has been developed by Film4 who will also co-finance the film with Bord Scannán na hEireann/ the Irish Film Board.

Michael Fassbender, who won Best Actor in Venice in 2011 for his performance in Steve McQueen's Shame, is currently shooting Ridley Scott's The Counselor alongside Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz, while Domhnall Gleeson recently finished shooting Richard Curtis' new comedy About Time, and was recently named as one of Variety's '10 Actors to Watch'.

FRANK is a co-production between Runaway Fridge and Element Pictures and will be produced by David Barron, Ed Guiney and Stevie Lee. Exec producers for Film4 are Tessa Ross and Katherine Butler and for Element Pictures, Andrew Lowe. Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales.

More About A Thousand Times Goodnight
A co-production between Ireland's Newgrange Pictures, Paradox in Norway and Zentropa International Sweden, the drama will be directed by Norwegian director Erik Poppe and is based on his own experiences as a war photographer. The screenplay for the feature film - which has also been developed under the title ‘Grenade' - has been written by Harald Rosenløw Eeg. Jackie Larkin and Lesley McKimm will produce for Newgrange alongside Norwegian Finn Gjerdrum and Stein Kave for Paradox. The feature's budget is reportedly around €5m. The Norwegian Film Institute is also supporting the feature along with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board.

More About Song of the Sea
Co-produced by Noerlum Studios (Denmark), Big Farm (Belgium) with post-production and music being completed by Super Productions (France).

More About QUIRKE
Each episode will see Quirke investigate the death of one of the unfortunate souls who end up on his mortuary slab. But as he turns accidental detective he discovers his investigations are often more closely linked to his own life than he could ever have imagined. Little by little he is forced to confront the sins of his past as he peels back the layers of his own tangled family history.

The three feature length episodes each take their stories from different books in the series, ‘Christine Falls' and ‘The Silver Swan' by Andrew Davies and ‘Elegy for April' by Conor McPherson. Commissioned by Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One and Ben Stephenson, Controller Drama Commissioning.

The series is a co-production between BBC Drama Production and Dublin-based companies Element Pictures and Tyrone Productions. It is 3X 90 minutes and filming begins in Dublin later this year. The Executive Producers are Jessica Pope for the BBC, Ed Guiney for Element Pictures and Joan Egan for Tyrone Productions. Lisa Osborne is the BBC Producer and John Alexander is the director of the first film ‘Christine Falls'.

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Post by Admin on Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:55 pm

Interview: Lenny Abrahamson and Jack Reynor talk What Richard Did
28th September 2012
Interview: Lenny Abrahamson and Jack Reynor talk What Richard Did
Touted widely as the finest Irish film of the year so far and helmed by a director who's about to join forces with the unstoppable Michael Fassbender (Frank), it was with great pleasure that I sat down with both the star and director of What Richard Did, Jack Reynor and Lenny Abrahamson respectively.

Abramhason's third and arguably greatest feature film to date (after Garage and Adam and Paul), for many, What Richard Did will feel like a story based on the assault of Brian Murphy outside the Burlington Hotel twelve years ago. However, so far removed from true events is this film, its script is one that was developed six times over from an original script based on Kevin Power's fictionalised book, Bad Day in Blackrock. Keeping up? "I can put my hand on my heart and say that this is not a film based on real events," says Abrahamson. "I wouldn't like to have had to make a film that was really based on anything, for loads of reasons. First of all you want to be able to imagine the most interesting film you can make, wherever that may lead you; you don't want to be constrained by a set of true facts. What's more, I didn't want to cause any more grief to any more people who have had a real involvement in a case like that."

Regardless of how close or far from a real life story this is, is irrelevant; What Richard Did is a fantastically thought-provoking piece of cinema. It's a slow burner but one that you won't mind holding out for, delivered by an ensemble of actors so well picked, you forget they are acting altogether. Jack Reynor as golden boy rugger bugger turned accidental murderer has the toughest job of all. "He's just so layered and there are so many different dimensions to him," says the soon-to-sky-rocket Reynor. "Even from the start of the film which is quite light, you can still see there's something quite sad about Richard, there's an undercurrent. You see a lot of moments where he's just on his own sitting there thinking and that was something that was really interesting for me. Then there's the going through that whole psychological breakdown that you would go through over those couple of days." Reynor laughs exasperatedly when recalling how challenging certain scenes were to film: "That was something any actor would love to do. It was incredibly intense and so difficult to play." Especially for someone "different in many ways" to the character of Richard. "Yeah Jack, you weren't even into sport!" reveals Lenny. "Jesus man you're not supposed to tell her that, God."

Fictional though it may be, What Richard Did is still a movie with a very real message, no? "The goal for us with the effect that this would have was that people would think about themselves in a different way and think about that society which can be characterised really easily. Like for parents they kind of walk away going 'wow if my kid did something like that how would I deal with it', and for people my age and my peers it's more 'if I did that myself would I have the metal to deal with it,' says Reynor. For Abrahamson however, What Richard Did highlights the issue of all this 'believe and you'll achieve' shtick; "I'd like this movie to show that there is a downside to building up the confidence and self belief of people to the extent that they feel indestructible. There's so much pressure on kids to perform and to be the best they can be and particularly with boys; boys who are the gifted ones get loaded with an awful lot of expectation and self expectation and that's really hard for an 18 year old. I sort of feel that they need to be ok with failing because that's the condition of our lives mostly, and yet what we're trying to do is put that all out of your head - 'be the best that you can', 'believe in yourself and you can have what you want' - which is just total bollocks."

Despite having struck gold twice before, and the fact that the IFI are about to present a retrospective on his work so far ("It's really nice, really brilliant. I just wish my kids were old enough to know that I'm not an idiot", he laughs), Abrahamson remains as typically self-depreciative and humble as you'd expect from an Irishman: "I'm a bit of a pessimist, oh yeah, and I always think the film I'm about to make is going to be a disaster. At least at some point I think that. Delusion is not good, better to be realistic and then surprise yourself if you're lucky." With regard to his current position, one which sees him hailed as Ireland's most promising and interesting filmmakers, one in which he stands between this critically acclaimed feature and the forthcoming Frank, Lenny is one satisfied man.

"Making a film like this I have to say has been really satisfying. You don't know when you're making something if it's going to work, I mean the first two films have worked but people still make bad films. Good filmmakers make bad films; it happens. But it's really satisfying to have made this thing that I'm very proud of and having worked with these people and what's great is that it's had a really strong reaction. As it happens I was going along to make Frank anyway and that also helps because people know I'm about to make a bigger film."

For Abrahamson, What Richard Did will no doubt elevate the Irish director to even greater heights; next of which will be the aforementioned Frank, starring Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson. Frank is an "atmospheric comedy about a guy played by Gleeson who wants to be a musician, practises in his bedroom but is crap and is desperate for something exciting to happen in his life. He gets drawn into the world of this really quite bizarre band who have an unpronounceable name with a lead singer who spends his time inside a globe-like head and that's Fassbender. It's partially a road movie and it's a riff on outsider musicians. It's a lovely study of what it is to want to be creative and discover that you can't do the thing you want to do. It's like an antidote to all those films which say 'dream and it will happen'." That sounds like a very Irish mentality, "It is," smiles the director.

As for his third movie's shining star? "I've just booked a pretty nice studio gig" smiles Reynor to himself as though it hasn't quite sunken in yet, "so I'm going back to New York to start shooting in 10 days. It's a feature film with an amazing studio and there's a couple of major actors in it." Too soon for details? "I'd love to tell you, I'm itching to tell you but I can't. But we'll let you know as soon as I can tell you, totally."

Well a promise is a promise, watch this space.

Read the review of What Richard Did here.

Click here for info on 'Focus on Lenny Abrahamson' at the IFI.

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Post by Admin on Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:08 pm

Rock drama “Frank” starring Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson will film in Ireland
Director Lenny Abraham has announced that majority of movie will be filmed in Ireland
IrishCentral Staff Writer
Published Friday, October 5, 2012, 12:26 PM
Updated Friday, October 5, 2012, 12:26 PM

Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson set to star in new Jon Ronson comedy "Frank"

The rock drama “Frank” will film a majority of the movie in Ireland and will start filming in December. As announced earlier, “Frank” features Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson.

Director Lenny Abraham told the Irish Film and Television Network, “The majority is going to be shot in Ireland, which is great. It’s set in Ireland, England, and the States, but we’re shooting Ireland and England in Ireland. Ireland will be Ireland and England will be Ireland!” Abraham is still casting parts and hopes to start filming early in December.

Abraham said about the film, “It’s going to be an exciting experience to get to work with Michael and Domhnall and, to be honest, I can’t wait to begin shooting it!”

The film tells the story of a young musician, played by Gleeson, who is struggling to make it in the music industry and joins a crazy band led by eccentric and enigmatic musician Frank, played by Fassbender. Abraham said about Frank’s character, “[he] is so acrophobic he has to wear a big huge fake head. He kind of takes his room with him when he goes outside.”

Abraham said the film is a case of “be careful for what you wish for.” The production team includes Jon Ronson, known for his work on “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” as well as “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”’s Peter Straughan.

Abraham has already begun to think about his next film, titled “Into the Darkness.” The film is based on the accounts of Franz Stangl, who was given control of two concentration camps in Poland in 1942. Edna Walsh, who worked on “Hunger” will write the script and Element Pictures and FilmFour will co-produce. Abraham plans to start work on “Into the Darkness” after “Frank” is finished next year.

Abraham’s latest film “What Richard Did,” about the rash act and ensuing guilt of Dublin teenager is released tomorrow.

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Monday, November 12th, 2012
"Silly, Funny Stories About Really Serious Things": A Chat With Writer Jon Ronson
Elise Czajkowski | November 12th, 2012

Bestselling British author and documentary filmmaker Jon Ronson has found his way into the weirdest corners of society. His first book, Them: Adventures with Extremists, found him searching for the secret elite group that many extremists believe rule the world. His subsequent books, The Men Who Stare at Goats (which was made into a movie) and The Psychopath Test, explored, respectively, the odder elements of military techniques and mental disorders.

His latest book, Lost at Sea, which is out now, is a collection of Ronson's magazine and newspapers articles from the last 15 years. Recently, I got the chance to chat with him about the journalism he's written: the stories that went nowhere as well as the others that mysteriously took off.

Elise Czajkowski: So how did you start out writing about such weird things?

Jon Ronson: Well, I was living in Manchester in the north of England, and working with bands, and not making any money. The bands that I was managing were not flourishing, because it turned out I was a lousy manager. I took people's potential and did nothing with it. And I was really young; I was only, like, 21, 22. As it happens, I wrote a movie based on one of the bands I worked with, which is about to start filming. So my past with bands has suddenly kind of come into life again.

But, anyway, to make ends meet I started just writing for the local listings magazine, like Manchester's version of Time Out. And the stuff I was gravitating towards at the beginning was people who lived on the fringes of society and funny, absurd stories about the kind of crazy things that see us through. You know, belief systems that seemed kind of completely irrational to me. And I've got to admit, at the time, in my early 20s, I probably thought I was better than them. They were kind of nuts and I was, you know, sane and rational. But the older I get, the less I feel that. Now I feel completely on a par of irrationality with them. So that was it. I was just kind of drawn to those stories, but at the time, they were stories that didn't really matter. They were just kind of the silly stories about eccentric people.

But then, a commissioning editor at Channel Four Television said, why don't you take what you've been doing and do it about this Islamic fundamentalist in London called Omar Bakri, who says he's not gonna rest until he sees the black flag of Islam flying over Downing Street and the White House. And I really liked that idea. Treat him not as a kind of monster, but as a human with absurd character traits like we all have. We did this kind of silly, funny story about a really serious thing. And, ever since then, that's what I've kind of carried on doing.

How do you know what will make a good story?

I think about that a lot. There are ingredients, but actually quite often, when you don't have the ingredients, it still ends up being good, and sometimes even better, so it shows you should never have too many hard and fast rules. But I think at best, it's a real mystery. There's got to be something that I don't know the answer to that I really want to know the answer to. Like with The Psychopath Test. All these eminent psychiatrists believe that psychopaths rule the world. You know, that's such a big thought. Is there a way I can try and really find out if it's true? Can I become a professional psychopath spotter, and try and spot psychopaths in positions of power? So that was like a real mystery itself. And then sometimes the mystery is, well, why does this person believe this stuff? So sometimes it's smaller mysteries. But it all has to be a mystery.

I always hope that there's a potential for humor. But not patronizing humor. It can't be condescending. If I find that I'm heading into a sort of condescending place, I abandon the story. But humor's great. Some kind of absurdity is good. If the thing that the person believes or the situation I'm going to get myself in feels kind of absurd and unfolding. And I think best of all, if it's a kind of silly, funny story but about a really serious thing. I think that that's good. So, you know, The Psychopath Test is about mental health and The Men Who Stare at Goats is about war.

Have there been stories that didn't go anywhere?

Yeah. The main one, the one that was most depressing to me really was [about] credit cards. I had a real sense, like a real prophetic, almost, you know—I'm trying to think of another way of saying 'prophetic' that's even more grandiose.

Like Nostradamus.

Yeah, I had Nostradamus-like sense that things were going to go wrong in the credit industry. And I became obsessed with trying to tell that story. And you know, it wasn't just me. When the banking system collapsed, every one said, "Oh my god, nobody predicted this." But actually, loads of people were predicting it. Friends of mine were coming round for dinner and saying, "This is a house of cards." In my "Who Killed Richard Cullen" story [in Lost at Sea, about an English man who committed suicide in 2005 after racking up enormous credit card debt], there's lots of people of saying, "You know, this is really bad. This isn't going to last."

But I couldn't do it. I spent three months and I just couldn't do it. And the reason was because I kept on meeting people who worked in the credit industry and they were really boring. I couldn't make them light up the page. And, as I said in The Psychopath Test, if you want to get away with wielding true malevolent power, be boring. Journalists hate writing about boring people, because we want to look good, you know? So that was the most depressing one. To the extent that I would like get up in the morning—I've never really told this to anyone, but I'd get up in the morning, I'd go downstairs to breakfast and I'd, like, look at my cereal and burst into tears. And then I'd think, it's only like nine hours until I can sit down and watch TV. After three months of that, I was thinking, I'm actually getting depressed here. So I abandoned it. My editor in New York keeps reminding me that, if I'd carried on with the credit-card book, it would have come out exactly when the banks collapsed and everyone would have turned to me. But I just couldn't do it.

Have any of the stories you've written really affected you?

I think "Who Killed Richard Cullen" really stayed with me. [It] gave me a whole different view on how the world works. Almost conspiratorial, because it sort of is a conspiratorial story about how the people at the top are coming up with kind of clever, almost invisible ways to manipulate us down below and keep us enslaved in their credit cards. So that story. I think The Psychopath Test, that whole book definitely did. I suppose it's the stories that teach us that the people above us don't always act in benevolent ways. Those are the stories stay with me the most.

I was really interested, in "Amber Waves of Green"—I think Jon Stewart wanted to talk about "Amber Waves of Green" but I just blahed on about superheroes. [The story looked at the lives of six people of different incomes levels in the US.] The thing that really interested me was the idea that at each income level in that story, people come up with kind of illusory reasons why they shouldn't get any richer. So Franz thinks its fine to earn $200 a week as long as people talk to him respectfully, which is kind of an illusion, right? And then Dennis and Rebecca, [who] earn five times what Franz earned, said, "Well, if we earn more money then who knows, we might become sex and drug addicts, because people in our church have and it's such a slippery slope, if you have more money."

And then the woman [making $1.25 million a year] that's going, "Well, I don't want my own plane, because imagine what a nightmare it'd be to have your own plane." So, all the way up, people are coming up with irrational illusory ways to say, "It's okay that I've been forced into this position in life." My brother told me actually that other people have written about this idea, that this need to feel respected is a really guiding force in people's lives. And for Franz, it's almost a way to keep Franz in his place, So that really stuck with me. And in fact, I'm going to write more about that. I think that's a really interesting subject.

You interact with a lot of cult leaders and very charismatic people. Do you worry about being influenced by these people who professionally influence other people?

No, I sort of like it when I feel influenced by them. I like a story most of all when I feel like I've gone through some kind of change. And on two occasions, that change has happened in a way that I've changed for the worse. I didn't realize it, and it was only when I was writing the book that I changed back again to how I'd been before.

One was in Them, when I really became a kind of paranoid conspiracy theorist for awhile, started thinking I was getting followed when I wasn't, and all of that. And then the other time was with Psychopath Test, when I became totally drunk with my abilities to spot psychopaths everywhere. On both occasions I really kind of loved that. I've always thought, if you're lucky enough to be able to write a book, you should really go through some kind of hell to write it.

There's a lot of variety in the kind of stories you write. Do you have a favorite type of story?

I just love going to shadowy places. Like this story I'm doing for the Guardian, which I can't tell you about, but I ended up in this really crazy housing project in a tiny town in Tennessee, and—I'll tell you one thing about it. Every apartment in this housing project had a loud speaker, so the person downstairs at the reception could talk to everyone at once. And when I was there and that happened, I [was] just so elated to be somewhere where people don't get to go, and people don't get to see. It's a kind of mysterious shadowy place, and yet I'm there and I'm experiencing it. I love that more than anything. Adventures into places where people don't get to go. In Them, I remember feeling the same thing at a Ku Klux Klan compound. People were saying to me, it must have been terrifying. And you know, I had to be wary and on my guard, but more than that, I just felt privileged to be anywhere where people don't get to go.

[Like] Phoenix Jones, my real-life superhero. He's not in the hardback in America because Riverhead brought it out as a short e-book, but I'm sure it'll go into paperback. I still worry about him, that he's going to end up getting killed. It's one of my favorite stories.

Almost all of the stories in Lost at Sea take place either in the US or the UK. Have you found a big difference between the US and the UK, in the types of stories and the people?

Not really. I mean the main difference is Americans do tend to be a lot more confident and outgoing and outspoken than British people. Which at its worst means you get more narcissists in America than you do in Britain. That's the kind of downside of confidence. I've met some terrible American narcissists.

Haven't we all.

Yeah. They're like my least favorite sort of people. I really can't stand them. But the upside is that Americans are kind of lovely, especially the more introverted, quiet ones. Other than that, I don't feel there's a huge difference.

Do you think being more well known has changed how people treat you?

There are upsides and downsides to it. Like, new doors open and then other doors close. I think they probably balance each other out. So for instance, people who don't know who I am, that then discover that I have a connection to George Clooney. That helps. And I completely milk it in my introductory emails to them. I always say, my first sentence, "One of my nonfiction books, The Men Who Stare at Goats, was turned into a film starring George Clooney." That's definitely opened some doors.

Tell me about this movie that you wrote.

It's a comedy about being in a band, and its very funny, I think. It's called Frank. Michael Fassbender plays Frank, and there's a character based on me called Jon, and it's about their relationship inside the band. Jon is the keyboard character and Frank's the singer, so it's about the relationship between Jon and Frank.

You played the keyboard?

Yes, but not well. I could only play C, F, and G. Luckily the band I was in, all the songs were in C, F and G.

Have you written other fiction?

No, first time. At first, I just couldn't get my head around it. You know, what we do, whatever happens at this table is our material. But in a movie, you go into a restaurant, you sit down, and there's f#%@#&! nobody there. The restaurant doesn't exist. It's like a big white space, and that completely sort of f&%$#& with my mind, because I was thinking, well, there's nothing to tell me what is acceptable for this script and what is not acceptable. Like in journalism, what's acceptable is what actually happened, and what's not acceptable is what didn't happen. But with fiction, nothing happened, so you have to make these kind of complete judgments on what would the character do that? And it's like, you could say, yeah, of course the character would do that, because this character doesn't exist, so he could do f#%@#&! anything. He can go up to space, he can do anything.

So that completely screwed me with me for about two years. This was like a five-year process. Then after awhile, these characters start to form, and you do start to think, okay, I know enough about [the characters] to sort of know what they would or wouldn't rationally do in a situation. So the further into the process you get, the more it actually feels like journalism. Because the stuff you've written does exist and then that informs the rest of it. So the second half of the process was actually really similar to journalism and I really liked it a lot. I don't know whether I could do it again.

It seems like you're always working. Why do you think that is?

You know what, I asked Randy Newman the same question one time when I was interviewing him, and he said it's because it's how I judge myself and how I feel better. And because everything I've ever thought has already been thought by Randy Newman, then uh, I think that's probably my answer as well.

Related: A Chat With Fran Lebowitz and How Not To Die Of Rabies! A Chat With Bill Wasik And Monica Murphy

Elise Czajkowski is a freelance journalist in New York City. Feel free to tweet at her with abandon. Photo of Ronson by Barney Poole.

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