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All Irishmen film-At Swim With Two Birds

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Post by Admin on Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:55 pm

According to some great fans in Ireland at MFO, one of their late night shows had an interview with Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow in Batman Begins) and Brenden Gleeson (the teacher in Harry Potter with the goofy eye) that Michael is included in a movie called, "At Swim Two Birds". A project that Brenden has been trying to do, and it looks like they have the go in August. Looks like Michael will overseas for a bit this year.

Here's the video:

See around 18 minutes in.

http://www.rte.ie/tv/latelate/index.html

Cillian Murphy, Colin Farrell and Gabriel Byrne have been attached to the production for a long time, and i'm guessing they will play the main roles. Michael was photographed with Gleeson at the IFTA's. Maybe that's when he got offered a part in the film.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At_Swim-Two-Birds

Plot summary

At Swim-Two-Birds presents itself as a first-person story by an unnamed Irish student of literature. The student believes that "one beginning and one ending for a book was a thing I did not agree with", and he accordingly sets three apparently quite separate stories in motion.[2] The first concerns the Pooka MacPhellimey, "a member of the devil class".[2] The second is about a young man named John Furriskey, who turns out to be a fictional character created by another of the student's creations, Dermot Trellis, a cynical writer of Westerns. The third consists of the student's adaptations of Irish legends, mostly concerning Finn Mac Cool and mad King Sweeney.

In the autobiographical frame story, the student recounts details of his life. He lives with his uncle, who works as a clerk in the Guinness Brewery in Dublin. The uncle is a complacent and self-consciously respectable bachelor who suspects that the student does very little studying. This seems to be the case, as by his own account the student spends more time drinking stout with his college friends, lying in bed and working on his book, than he does going to class.

The stories that the student is writing soon become intertwined with each other. John Furriskey meets and befriends two of Trellis's other characters, Antony Lamont and Paul Shanahan. They each become resentful of Trellis's control over their destinies, and manage to drug him so that he will spend more time asleep, giving them the freedom to lead quiet domestic lives rather than be ruled by the lurid plots of his novels. Meanwhile, Trellis creates Sheila Lamont (Antony Lamont's sister) in order that Furriskey might seduce and betray her, but "blinded by her beauty" Trellis "so far forgets himself as to assault her himself."[3] Sheila, in due course, gives birth to a child named Orlick, who is born as a polite and articulate young man with a gift for writing fiction. The entire group of Trellis's characters, by now including Finn, Sweeney, the urbane Pooka and an invisible and quarrelsome Good Fairy who lives in the Pooka's pocket, convenes in Trellis's fictional Red Swan Hotel where they devise a way to overthrow their author. Encouraged by the others, Orlick starts writing a novel about his father in which Trellis is tried by his own creations, found guilty and viciously tortured. Just as Orlick's novel is about to climax with Trellis' death, the college student passes his exams and At Swim-Two-Birds ends.


If Michael is going to be in this film, this will be another book to add to my readings, aside from Jane Eyre and The Talking Cure.


Last edited by greyeyegoddess on Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Admin on Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:30 pm

If you don't want to go through the whole 18 minutes, here is a clip of the video.

http://michaelfassbender.multiply.com/video/item/245
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Post by Admin on Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:12 pm

@CFFdotCom "At Swim Two Birds" Director: Brendan Gleeson; Cast: Colin Farrell,Gabriel Byrne,Cillian Murphy,Brendan Gleeson. Starts film in IRE Sep '10
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Post by Admin on Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:54 pm

http://theplaylist.blogspot.com/2010/08/brendan-gleesons-adaptation-of-flann.html

8/05/2010
Brendan Gleeson's Adaptation Of Flann O'Brien's 'At Swim-Two-Birds' Still On Track; To Shoot Next Summer?

It's been quiet as a mouse on the production front of Brendon Gleeson's planned directorial debut in an adaptation of Flann O' Brien's "At Swim-Two-Birds" so, subsequently, we had all but assumed the project had tragically fallen through the cracks like so many others. Actor Cillian Murphy, however, has now provided an update on the film affirming that it's definitely on track and readying to get in front cameras in the near future.

“I spoke to Brendan during the year and he’s in the process of raising money,” Murphy told IrishCentral. “I think there’s a huge amount of goodwill toward the film and all of the actors are very much attached and engaged in it... It’s a tough time for independent films like this but I feel that it will get made. Brendan is so passionate about it and the script is in such great shape that I feel like it’s gonna happen."

Murphy later revealed to Collider that they'll "shoot that this year hopefully" while an earlier, separate report from IrishCentral reports that it'll start shooting next summer with a cast that is already being touted as the "Pat Pack." Whenever it ultimately shoots, it's great to hear that the project is still alive and kicking.

"At Swim-Two-Birds" centers on the idea of fictional characters rebelling against their creator and follows a university student as he writes a novel behind closed doors that seemingly intertwines with characters in his own life. A closer look at the novel's plot reveals a very complex, meta-fictional tale that would seemingly be impossible to summarize, but it has been described as "a collision between Ireland's literary, heroic past and its grimy, mundane present."

The adaptation has an all-star, all-Irish cast including Colin Farrell, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Gabriel Byrne attached to star along with Gleeson's son, actor Domhall Gleeson who was recently added. We hope Michael Fassbender, who's already rumored on IMDB, will find his way on this somehow too.
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Post by Admin on Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:27 pm

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/magazine/2010/1009/1224280425732.html

Hard acts to follow
FAMILY AFFAIR Domhnall Gleeson, who is playing Bob Geldof in the Live Aid TV drama When Harvey Met Bob PHOTOGRAPHS: BRYAN O'BRIEN FAMILIAR

INTERVIEW: With parts in several soon-to-be-released movies, and a title role in a new RTÉ production, ‘ridiculously modest’ Domhnall Gleeson, son of Brendan and brother of Brian, is one to watch, writes SINEAD GLEESON (alas no relation)

ACROSS THE SOFAS and piano music of the hotel lobby where we meet, Domhnall Gleeson is about to tuck into some tea and toast. Before we start our interview, he pulls out his iPhone. “I have to show you this.”

The image on screen is a piece of sculpture in a gallery, of a large tree hollowed out to reveal another, older tree. “It’s this guy called Giuseppe Penone, it’s unbelievable isn’t it?” Gleeson discovered the artist in Toronto, where he has just been for the city’s prestigious film festival.

Despite having had very little sleep and being jet-lagged, his enthusiasm is endearing. Wearing a woollen teddy bear hat, he looks more himself than the last time I saw him in Dublin. Then, he sported dyed hair and brown contact lenses, for the part of Bob Geldof in a new RTÉ production, When Harvey Met Bob .

It’s the 25th anniversary of Live Aid and the programme follows the hectic lead-up and intense working relationship between Geldof and music promoter Harvey Goldsmith (played by Ian Hart). It’s Gleeson’s first time playing someone famous, especially someone with the kind of mythology that Geldof has. “I had played ‘real’ people before, but never anyone so photographed and so distinctive in terms of their physicality and their voice. I’d tell people what I was working on and immediately they’d launch into an awful Bob Geldof impression.”

The singer and humanitarian is famously outspoken, so was the actor fearful about playing him, and does Geldof know about it? “He’s a different person now to who he was then, so I don’t know how much benefit it would have been for me to have met him. I read his autobiography, which he wrote after Live Aid, and watched the footage. He knows about the project, but I’m not sure if he knows I’m playing him, in that he doesn’t know who I am. I don’t know if he’ll watch it, but it’s nerve-racking because if he thinks it’s s$#!, that would be really disappointing. Or particularly if he thinks I’m s$#! in it.”

Gleeson pensively munches on his toast and it’s clear that it’s important how his portrayal is received.

Domhnall Gleeson was two when Live Aid happened and has spent the intervening years growing up in Dublin with his three brothers, and parents Mary and Brendan, who happens to be one of Ireland’s finest actors. Gleeson knows that people want to ask him about his father and he mentions him before I do.

“I had been in school plays and loved that feeling of going out and being someone else. It’s brilliant; it’s like playtime. When I was 16 I accepted an award on behalf of my dad at the Iftas and gave a speech. It was apparently quite funny, because I didn’t know any better, and I ended up getting an agent out of it. But what made me really want to act was when I read Martin McDonagh’s script for The Lieutenant of Inishmore. It was my first real job, my first real audition and I thought, I really want to do this.

“It was just such a great script,” he continues, “so funny, even though it’s about the Troubles. I was 19 when I went to London to do the play, and it remains one of the best experiences of my life. The problem is that you start with something that special and then you spend the rest of your time trying to find something that will equal it. Once I did that play, it was never a question of, will I be an actor or not? I knew that I could be good at it and that when it was going well, I loved it.”

The play later transferred to Broadway, and at 23, Gleeson was nominated for a Tony award. He also starred in McDonagh’s Oscar-winning short film Six Shooter , alongside his father and the pair appeared together in the 2006 film Studs. There are obvious merits to working with someone you know so well, and Brendan Gleeson is as accomplished as they come. “It’s great working with him – he’s one of my favourite actors. The father/son thing is always there, but once you start acting it’s not an issue because you become someone else.”

More recently, Domhnall wrote and directed his father and brother Brian in Noreen , a story about two Offaly gardaí trying to work out their own problems as they solve a mysterious death. It picked up Best Short Drama at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. “I’m really proud of that film. My dad was brilliant in it, as was Brian. I had written the script and my dad read it, thought it was really funny and said: ‘Are you not going to offer me a job then?’ ”

The years of theatre, film and the experiences of writing and directing have seen Gleeson build up a solid repertoire of experience. This has translated into roles in some big upcoming films, including one that sees him working with his cinematic heroes. “When I did Lieutenant of Inishmore, it ended up transferring to Broadway, and I got really good agents in the US. When I first met them, they all sat around a table and asked ‘What’s your dream job? Tell us, what do you wanna do?’ and I told them that if they got me a scene in a Coen brothers film, I would do horrible things to do it . I forgot about it until True Grit came up and I met their casting director and told her that I really, really wanted to work with them.”

The Noel and Ethan Coen version of the classic western is more a re-imagining of the original novel than the John Wayne film and Gleeson wanted the part badly. At the time, he was filming Your Bad Self, an RTÉ comedy sketch show, and he asked actor colleague Hugh O’Conor to direct his audition tape. On the strength of it, he was offered the part of Moon , played in the 1969 film by Dennis Hopper.

“It’s not the biggest role in the world, but it was the happiest day of my life when I heard I got it. I made the decision before not to gush or be the fan on set – and I got to work with Jeff Bridges again was in it and I had seen him in Boy A, which was superb. In the bigger films, I tend to have smaller parts, but it’s a very big role in terms of what it does for the story.”

All three of those actors benefit from UK or US bases and there comes a time in any actor’s life when they must decide whether Hollywood calls or not. Gleeson admits he has been toying with the idea of making that move, but points out that many actors don’t have to (his father for one). “I can fly over quickly for auditions and send tapes, but I suppose it’s more a question of here or London, whatever about LA.”

In the interim, he’s still very connected to theatre and wants to do more. “If you’re an Irish actor, you have to be able to do both because there just isn’t enough work to go around. Surviving on theatre work alone would be very difficult, and you’re not going to get film work all the time, unless you get to a level, well, I suppose like my dad. He works in film all the time, he hasn’t done a play since 2000. You have to get good at both, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

While in Toronto, for a screening of Sensation , a short film in which he starred, he got down to some writing, something that being away gives him time to do. “I’m writing a lot at the moment, and doing more than just acting was something I discussed early on with my dad.”

The pair will reunite next year when father directs son in a film version of At Swim-Two-Birds , starring Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Michael Fassbender.

Although Gleeson plays down his rising status as an actor, he admits that he has been recognised from the RTÉ television series, Your Bad Self . He wrote some of the sketches with a friend, and garnered a certain amount of notoriety.

Less than 10 years after his acting debut, Gleeson says he’s finally okay with referring to himself as an actor. “I wasn’t comfortable with it for a long time, but the fact that I’ve been able to get by in the last couple of years has made it easier. I’m glad I went to college, glad I have the friends I made before embarking on this full-time. Working on The Lieutenant of Inishmore at 19 . . . there was something about that play that really drove me forward, because I know what the work can be like when it’s really good.”

When Harvey Met Bob is on RTÉ1 at 9.35pm next Wednesday
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Post by Admin on Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:27 pm

http://www.herald.ie/entertainment/around-town/coens-gig-was-a-dream-come-true-for-domhnall-2380978.html

Coens gig was 'a dream come true' for Domhnall

By Geraldine Gittens

Friday October 15 2010

BRENDAN Gleeson's eldest son Domhnall has described working with the Coen brothers as a "dream come true" -- but he insists he has no plans to move to Hollywood.

The 27-year-old spent the summer working with directors Ethan and Joel Coen along with veteran actor Jeff Bridges on a remake of the classic Western, True Grit.

"Working with the Coen brothers was a dream come true, and so was the Harry Potter thing. I worked with the Coen brothers in summertime in America.

"Basically I was working with people who are at the top of their game and that haven't put a foot wrong. I've watched all of their work, and seeing them on set and seeing them doing their thing is incredible.

"When I first met my agent in America and he asked me who would I most like to work with, my first answer was the Coen brothers, and that was four years go. They were at the very top of my list then and I've gotten to work with them now."

Domhnall, who earned a Tony Award nomination in 2006 for his role in The Lieutenant Of Inishmore, has also worked with acting greats such as his father, Cillian Murphy and Sean McGinley.

He will reunite with his dad next year when Brendan will direct a film version of At Swim-Two-Birds, also starring Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Michael Fassbender.

He explained that working with the Coen brothers has been one of his career highlights.

"I'd have killed to work with them then and I'll kill to work with them again."

But, he added: "You fall in love with everything you do. The first role I played was The Lieutenant Of Inishman and I performed that for a year."

hnews@herald.ie

- Geraldine Gittens
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Post by Admin on Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:03 pm

http://www.byrneholics.com/2011/news/gabriel-byrne/films/at-swim-two-birds-cast-news/

At Swim Two-Birds Cast News
Feature Films — By Stella on June 30, 2011 at 5:09 PM

From the HotPress interview with Brendan Gleeson:

Gleeson reveals that Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Michael Fassbender will all star in his planned film version of Flann O’Brien’s 1939 novel At Swim-Two Birds. He also emphasises the importance of having an Irish cast, adding “It was important, but also, they are the best people!”

Of course, we agree with that last statement! The big news here is the addition of Michael Fassbender to the cast of this film. Mr. Fassbender has been having an amazing year (check out Michael Fassbender Online for more information about his latest roles, including the films Jane Eyre and X-Men: First Class) and this is very exciting news.

Welcome aboard, Mr. Fassbender! You are joining an amazing company of Irish actors and a great Irish actor/director in bringing a fine, if esoteric, Irish novel to the screen.

And which character from At Swim Two-Birds do YOU think Michael will be bringing to life?
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Post by Admin on Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:11 pm

http://www.screendaily.com/news/uk-ireland/michael-fassbender-luxembourg-fund-join-gleesons-at-swim-two-birds/5029679.article

Michael Fassbender, Luxembourg Fund join Gleeson's At-Swim-Two-Birds

9 July, 2011 | By Andreas Wiseman

Brendan Gleeson’s A-list period drama gets further cast and co-production support.

Brendan Gleeson’s long-gestating period drama At-Swim-Two-Birds is getting closer to production, likely to start shooting in spring 2012.

Gleeson, who will direct and play the role of the uncle in his own adaptation of Flann O’Brien’s acclaimed 1939 novel, told Screen at the Galway Film Fleadh that while funding was still coming together on the project he had a new commitment to the film from Michael Fassbender along with already announced stars Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Gleeson’s son, rising star Domhnall.

Gleeson’s passion project, co-produced with Alan Moloney’s Parallel Films, has also newly received backing from Luxembourg producer Jani Thiltes and the Film Fund Luxembourg.

The story follows a teenage student who populates his creative writing with important characters from his own life.

The film is something of a passion-project for Gleeson who acquired the rights to the film seven years ago and has been working on it seriously for four years.

John Michael McDonagh’s locally shot comedy-thriller The Guard, starring Gleeson, made its Irish debut on Wednesday night at the Fleadh.

Commenting on the local response to the film (being released in Ireland by Element and in the UK by Optimum), Gleeson said: “You could really feel the buzz. It’s gone down very well. And it looks like it’s going to have traction. The numbers are already good.”
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:35 pm

http://www.totalfilm.com/news/michael-fassbender-to-star-in-brendan-gleeson-s-directorial-debut?

By Matt Maytum | Jul 10th 2011

Michael Fassbender has joined the cast of Brendan Gleeson's directorial debut, At Swim-Two-Birds.

The movie looks set to be a celebration of all things Irish, with Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy already attached. Gleeson and his son Domhall are also set to star.

Gleeson is adapting the movie from Flann O'Brien's 1939 novel. It doesn't look like the actor is going easy on himself for his first stab at writing and directing though, with the novel's complex meta-plot defying easy summarisation.

It concerns a student who is writing a couple of stories that begin to intertwine, before the characters decide to rebel against their creator.

The cast, particularly megastar-in-the-making Fassbender, should add a bit of heft to what could be a difficult sell at the box office.

Gleeson has always been a charming onscreen presence, and he has looked as comfortable in the largest scale blockbusters as he has in smaller dramas and comedies, so he's earned endless amounts of goodwill from us.

He'll next be seen in The Guard.

At Swim-Two-Birds is expected to shoot in spring 2012.

Source: The Playlist

Keen to see this Irish classic on screen? Or would you happily turn up for anything Fassbender was involved in? Let's have your comments below…
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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:16 pm

http://www.fansshare.com/news/michael-fassbender-upcoming-movie-roles/

11th July, 2011
01:56 PM
Michael Fassbender upcoming movie roles

Michael Fassbender has become an actor very much in demand recently, which is probably due to the success of the hit X-Men prequel, X-Men: First Class. Michael appeared in that movie as Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto and the film has since made $337 million worldwide (at time of writing).
Fassbender has since been linked to the Danny Boyle movie Trance and had agreed a role in the movie. However, he had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts. Michael is currently in the process of filming new Ridley Scott movie Prometheus, alongside Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba and Ben Foster.

Now it has been suggested that Michael Fassbender has agreed to sign up for the big screen adaptation of the Irish novel At-Swim-Two-Birds. The movie is set to be directed by Brendon Gleeson and will also star Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy. Filming for At-Swim-Two-Birds is set to begin next year and is expected to be released in 2013.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:05 pm

http://www.rte.ie/ten/2011/0712/gleesonb.html

Gleeson secures funding for dream project
Tuesday 12 July 2011
Brendan Gleeson has secured funding to make a film of Irish writer Flann O'Brien's novel At Swim-Two-Birds, enlisting an all-star cast of actors for the movie.
Gleeson - Secures funds for Flann O'Brien film

Watch: Michael Doherty chats to the Irish star about his latest role in The Guard and his dream project At Swim Two Birds


The Guard actor has reportedly gotten top Irish stars Gabrial Byrne, Cillian Murphy and Colin Farrell involved with his venture, which will see him make his directorial debut.

Gleeson's 28-year-old son Domnhall, who starred in Harry Potter, and X-Men: First Class actor Michael Fassbender are also said to be appearing in the film.

The deal was sealed over the weekend at the Galway Film Fleadh, reports the BBC.

Byrne, who is Ireland's cultural ambassador, said the agreement would ensure the film could be made.

He said in a letter to Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan: "What exciting possibilities will be born out of this exciting co-production treaty including the film At Swim-Two-Birds, to be directed by the visionary Brendan Gleeson, which I have no doubt will find a world-wide audience."

Gleeson adapted Flann O'Brien's masterpiece for the big screen along with Irish production company Parallel Films and Luxembourg-based producer Jani Thiltes.

Production is expected to start on the film next year, which is hoped to be shot in Ireland.
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Post by Admin on Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:30 am

http://www.nextmovie.com/blog/michael-fassbender-at-swim-two-birds/

Michael Fassbender Dips Into 'At-Swim-Two-Birds'
By Jenni Miller | July 11, 2011 |

With the addition of dreamy Magneto Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson's "At-Swim-Two Birds" is threatening to be crushed under the weight of its delightfully broody cast.

Fassbender, who will be appearing as a kinky Carl Jung in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," has signed on to star alongside Cillian Murphy, Gabriel Byrne, and Colin Farrell in Gleeson's adaptation of the revered Irish novel.

Gleeson's had his "Mad Eye" on making Flann O'Brien's book a movie for years, and finally secured funds for the flick this past weekend, as well as the toothy Mr. Fassbender. According to the BBC, this 1939 book gets all meta on the reader when its young protagonist finds himself at the mercy of the characters he's created. It will be very interesting to see how this first-time director takes on this unwieldy but awesome tale that was far ahead of its time.

The industry hive has been a-buzz about Gleeson's project for several years, especially given its status in literature. An adaption of "At-Swim-Two-Birds" seemed like one of those dream projects that's hotly disputed by book-lovers and consistently stymied by the studios, like "A Confederacy of Dunces." But with a weighty cast that includes the Irish ambassador of the arts (that would be Byrne, not Farrell) and the funding from the deal between Ireland and Luxembourg, it looks like Gleeson's labor of love will make it to the screen after all.

Is adapting fabulously brain-wrinklingly fiction the new Hollywood trend? With "Cloud Atlas" attracting equally high-profile talent, perhaps we're in for more dense literary treats to sink our teeth into at the theaters. Huzzah!
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Post by Admin on Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:10 pm

http://www.mymosaik.lu/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=3786:michael-fassbender-to-film-in-luxembourg-next-year-with-colin-farrell-and-gabriel-byrne&Itemid=85

Michael Fassbender to Film in Luxembourg Next Year with Colin Farrell and Gabriel Byrne
Tuesday, 12 July 2011 07:49

Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, Centurion, Centurion, Inglourious Basterds, Fish Tank) is to film in Luxembourg next year, in Brendan Gleeson's "At-Swim-Two-Birds".

Gleeson acquired the rights to Irish author Flann O'Brien's acclaimed 1939 novel seven years ago and has adapted the period drama himself for the big screen. the budget is understood to be around USD 11m.

The film is likely to start shooting in spring 2012. It will be a co-production in yet another project which has benefited from the alliance between the Luxembourg Film Fund and the Irish Film Board which was formalised in Galway, Ireland, at the week-end. Alan Moloney’s Parallel Films (Irl) will co-produce along with Jani Thiltges' Samsa Films.

Michael Fassbender is of German and Irish parentage. He was born in Heidelberg, Germany, and was raised Killarney, Co. Kerry, in south west Ireland. He joins an illustrious cast of heavyweight Irish actors which to date includes Brendan Gleeson himself (as well as directing), Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Domhnall Gleeson (Brenda Gleeson's son).
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Post by Admin on Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:21 am

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_guard_2011/news/1923279/brendan_gleeson_the_rt_inverview/

Brendan Gleeson: The RT Inverview
The star of The Guard and the Harry Potter movies talks about creating a memorable character.
by Tim Ryan | Friday, Jul. 29 2011
12 comments

Brendan Gleeson

In two decades in the movies, Brendan Gleeson has alternated between key roles in Hollywood blockbusters (he played Professor Alastor "Mad­Eye" Moody in the Harry Potter movies, and his credits include Gangs of New York and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence) and smaller, mostly Irish productions (including crime farces like I Went Down and In Bruges). In his latest film, The Guard (which opens Friday in limited release), Gleeson plays Sergeant Gerry Boyle, a gruff rural Irish policeman who teams up with Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle), a straight-laced FBI man, to solve an international drug trafficking case. Boyle is so fond of drugs, hookers, and politically incorrect pronouncements that Everett (and the audience) is never quite sure if he's a buffoon or a genius, and Gleeson's performance is so strong that he rarely tips his hand.

Before he was an actor, Gleeson taught math, physical education, and Gaelic at a secondary school in Ireland. He's maintained a lifelong love of the culture of his native land; for his directorial debut, Gleeson will helm an adaptation of Brian O'Nolan's notoriously difficult novel At Swim-Two-Birds, which is slated to star Michael Fassbender, Colin Farrell, and Cillian Murphy. In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Gleeson discussed his approach to acting, the end of the Harry Potter franchise, and the current state of Irish cinema.

RT: In The Guard, you play a character who's not always terribly sympathetic - he has a certain integrity, but he's often behaving horribly. Are you ever worried, when you're playing someone so complex, of losing the audience?

BG: You've gotta find the truth of the guy, really. When you read the script, obviously, you form an impression of him, and then you kind of see where it brings you, really. I think he hides his light behind a bushel quite well, Gerry Boyle. But some of the themes, like, for example, with his mother, or maybe with my [bride little]? It's hardly fair to be saying this, you know, you can see he has a soul. As long as you can enact him within a set of reality, it gives you confidence that the rest of the stuff, you don't need to show your hand all the time. I mean, somebody said to me a long time ago anyway, "You know, you don't actually have to tell everybody everything about all of the stuff all of the time." And it's kind of a good acting lesson. It's not necessary. People don't do it in real life; they don't reveal everything. Hopefully, it's properly written. If it's properly written, that kind of deeper understanding of the guy will come.

RT: You create a very original character in The Guard. When you played Winston Churchill [in the made-for-TV drama Into the Storm], how did you get at the heart of a character who's so iconic? Obviously his voice and his image have been recorded a lot, so how do you avoid doing an impersonation?

BG: The first thing you've got to do, I think, is, out of all mannerisms or body language or anything, the first thing for me was the voice. You have to get the voice into a place where it doesn't sound strange to you in your own head. You know, if you do an impersonation, you can hear yourself being somebody else in your own head. With something like the Churchill character, we were doing quite a domestic take on that story, and it was looking at his marriage. You know, I had to have a voice to talk to my wife in, you know what I mean? So the first thing was to try to get the sound as part of my DNA in a way, the sound of that man speaking , that it would surprise me coming out of my own mouth. So I worked with John Washington, who's a fantastic dialect coach, and we used my own pitch; I didn't go into a different sound. We just worked on my own sound. In terms of the big speeches, we did the mimicry to begin with; she never encouraged us to do mimicry, but to begin with, we started doing mimicry. Then we listened back to what I was doing, and what he was doing, and we discovered that the closer we got to my own pitch, the better it was. So, you have to try to, I think, make his person your person, his expression your expression. You know, that's the easy part, in a way; you listen and you listen and you listen, you listen and you practice. That's it, you know? The greater challenge is this quieter domestic situation, where he's not going to be speechifying; we don't have recordings of it. That's where you have to find a voice that makes it real.

RT: You've had a very diverse career, but it seems like with some of your "smaller" films, you tend be drawn to these sort of morally ambiguous characters. Not playing black-and-white seems to appeal to you.

BG: Yeah. I mean, I was working on Safe House down in South Africa, by Daniel Espinosa, who is a director to watch out for. He said, "You never play good guys," and I was kind of astounded by that. But I was thinking about it, and I do play good guys, but I do tend to find the flaws in a good guy, and I tend to look for the good things in a bad guy, because I think that's really the way the world works. I find the great issues are much more complicated and humanity much more complex than good guys and bad guys. So you're right, I do tend to muddy the water a little bit because I actually think that's the truth of it, for the most part.

RT: A lot of what you see of rural Ireland in the movies is very traditional with a lot of quirky characters. You get that in The Guard, too, but you see a place that's been touched by immigration, that's touched by outside cultural influence. Obviously that was something you guys were going for with this.

BG: No, absolutely, [director John Michael] McDonagh's not sentimental; let's be honest about this. There's not a sentimental side to him. You know, I think confronting the reality of a place enhances its beauty. It's funny, we had awful weather. We filmed in November and December, we were out on the coast of the Atlantic, and we were lashed on and blown out of it, and still the place manages to look beautiful because you embrace the way it is, you know what I'm saying? Similarly with the characters, the people who populate it, they're all flawed in a proper human way. They have their quirky things going on, but there's a lot of corruption going on, there's a lot of kind of nasty stuff, and I personally find it more interesting that way. It's more real, and in the end, I think it's more interesting to watch.

RT: it seems like the Irish film industry, despite the recession, has been doing pretty well. Is that what you've seen? Not that it's recession-proof, per se, but that it's chugging along despite some of the economic troubles the country has been having.

BG: Yeah it is. You know, I was part of that kind of a delegation that went into parliament to lobby for, first of all, the retention of the Arts Council, and the retention of the Film Board, and the retention of the tax incentives about two years ago. There was a whole campaign where people were looking to cut, cut, cut, cut, and we kind of made the case that the industry is actually financially a good idea, and that it works and brings cash way beyond any investments in tax breaks and everything else. Oddly enough, they listened, and they maintained that, on the Film Board, we go to 2016. It was fantastic because it gave everybody confidence to be able to say, "Look, it's not going to go bust in the next year or two. There's no axe hanging over the structure." And it's made a big difference. Confidence is everything, as you know, and as long as we can maintain what's working and try to improve on it and keep our standards up, I don't see why we can't last this through.

RT: Speaking of Irish films, you're scheduled to start filming At Swim-Two-Birds pretty soon.

BG: Yeah, hopefully in spring; we have it marked down for a springtime shoot, and it'll give us a chance to get all our ducks in a row, in terms of cast, because I think you know we've a fantastic crowd of people. You know, Colin Farrell wants to do it, and Michael Fassbender, Cillian Murphy, Gabriel Byrne, and people like that. It's really difficult for any of them to be keeping their schedules open; they're incredibly in demand. So we're going to go in springtime, and it's going to be a co-production with Luxembourg. We're not officially green-lit yet, but there's fantastic momentum behind it and we're set to go, hopefully.

RT: This is some pretty challenging material for you to make your directorial debut.

BG: [laughs] Well, no point in doing it otherwise, is there, really? You know, if I thought of somebody else who could do it, I would hand it over. I do have a really strong vision of what I want from it. It's been in my life, that book, since 17, and I've had a lot of time to prepare it. I've been through a lot of people, in terms of the script. John Boorman, actually, was one of those who came in with me from the beginning, and I asked him would he direct, would he be interested? He said he didn't know what to do with it, and the more I talked about what he could do with it, the more he said, "Listen, you know what to do with it. Go write it and direct it. That's what you should do." I mean, he's going to be there for me at any point, and I've talked to him a lot about it in developing the script. So I'm not short of people who can kind of fill me in, in terms of any inexperience I have. I'm always interested in how it works. I wouldn't be directing something just for the hell of it, just to put it on my TV anyway, to be honest with you. I prefer to do what I do -- I love doing what I do -- but I'm kind of proprietorial about this particular reason.

RT: Shifting gears a little bit, were you sad to see the end of the Harry Potter franchise?

BG: I wasn't sad in the sense... No, I wasn't, really. I mean, I wasn't involved in the final part of the saga, but I'm not sad because it seems to have - I haven't got to see it yet - but it seems to have come out with a proper sort of flourish. I became very proud and very fond of that whole setup, so I'm really delighted it's going out in that kind of a flourish. It just seems right. You know, everything has its day. I'm sure there will be a lot of people sad to see it go, but I know it will endure. I mean, I think it's great. It just feels right.

RT: On a more personal note, did being a teacher prepare you for dealing with an audience?

BG: [laughs] It's the same job. You try to impart something, and you gotta keep them interested long enough to listen. So I don't feel it's any different, really. No, I love teaching; I was ten years, teaching, and you know, I actually did like the kids, even though they maybe didn't think so at the time. Getting to assert yourself in different creative ways is phenomenal, and there are elements that are similar. I think it helped me... for example, I can pretty much see early on if something has a real chance of working or not. I mean, trying to keep a captive audience... The only difference is they don't have to go into the cinema, you know; they have to go to school, so maybe a little tougher to keep their attention.

RT: You taught Gaelic, and Gaelic turns up randomly in a lot of movies, especially in The Guard, obviously. Do you think there's ever going to be a feature-length all-Gaelic movie, and would you be interested in doing something like that?

BG: Yeah, there have been a couple already... It would have to be good enough. It's like working in Ireland. If the script was good enough, and if I was in a position to do it, I would do it. I would love to do it. I would absolutely love to do it. But there have been feature-length films made; it just hasn't... I haven't been around or I just haven't been able to do it or I didn't like what was there. You know, I just like keeping in contact with it. If I can [do] a little bit of it in At Swim-Two-Birds, I'm not sure quite yet whether I'm going to film it with both; I'll probably know on set. You know, Irish is something that's kind of hanging in there; in spite of all logic, people are still drawn to it. It's 2000 years old, and people don't want to see it go away. But I don't see this kind of notion that it's going to be spoken all over Ireland or that this revival is going to happen. It's a thing of beauty that's there in some places and not in others, and we just have to appreciate it, I suppose. But yeah, of course I'd go for it.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:34 am

http://blogs.indiewire.com/spout/archives/2011/07/26/john_michael_mcdonagh_interview/

“The Guard” Director John Michael McDonagh on Mixing Ford & Sturges, Undermining American Cop Films

“The Guard” is John Michael McDonagh’s first feature film as director. Yet if you’re at all familiar with his brother Martin’s work you’ll recognize a few familiar faces and a distinct sense of humor. The two filmmakers have a talent for “un-PC” jokes and hilariously dark narratives, and this new cop comedy is no exception. “The Guard” is a ribald character study of loner policeman Sergeant Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) whose rural Galway beat suddenly becomes the focus of a major international narcotics investigation.

McDonagh and I spoke about his new film and its protagonist, discussed his cinematic influences and looked back at his prior work as screenwriter on 2003’s “Ned Kelly.” He also gave his astute and entertaining take on American comedy, Denzel Washington, and over-serious police procedurals. But before I could bring up any of that he asked me the first question, about the large white poster for the films’s US release sitting next to us at the table.

John Michael McDonagh: Do you like the poster? I can see what they’re selling. Let’s put it that way. In Ireland they sold it more as a comedy crime thriller, because I think that’s what the Irish would go for. Here it’s not as aggressive, maybe? When they sold it in Ireland they sold it in a completely different way. You’re always getting new posters for each new market and some of them are good and some of them aren’t.

SPOUT: Sergeant Boyle isn’t the kind of character that you would be able to have in a mainstream American crime film, anyway.

Well, he would have to learn something or redeem himself in some way so that he’s a changed person by the end. The line: “he probably hasn’t had so much fun since they burned all those kids at Waco” gets a big laugh right at the end of the film. I think the reason it gets a laugh is not the line itself, but because they realize he’s not learned anything. He’s just the same person who’s going to say the same outrageous gags at the end of the movie as he does at the beginning.

I guess what you have to take into account is that if they made this film in America it’d be with a bigger budget anyway, and there’d be more—I don’t want to say compromises but you’re obviously trying to appeal to a broader audience. We had six million dollars, so I didn’t get a lot of pressure from producers or financiers to soften the character or take out some of the more edgy or confrontational gags. Though you’re never left completely alone.

Where would you say the influences of the film lie, if not in the typical Hollywood cop movie?

To me it would be more like that period of American moviemaking from about ’67 to about ’76. Walter Mathau, he was a character actor who became a star and his films had a sly intelligence to them. It was that kind of stuff. Even Charles Grodin in “The Heartbreak Kid,” which is ostensibly a romantic comedy but has a real melancholy edge to it. All of those movies from the ‘70s seem to have that slightly disillusioned anti-authoritarian air to them. I was trying to tap at a mood rather than one specific reference to a film.

When I was shooting I looked at John Ford’s movies—the Cavalry Trilogy—and it’s a strange combination but also Preston Sturges’s romantic comedies. I was basically trying to take screwball eccentric characters and put them in a Western. But those two filmmakers have similarities. They both used a repertory company all the time. They would give space to supporting players. It wouldn’t all just be the lead. It wouldn’t all just be John Wayne. There’d always be Ward Bond or somebody in the background. Obviously Preston Sturges had a whole cavalcade of wacky characters. They’re quite similar in their direction and the atmospheres around their films.

It’s also interesting to think about Sergeant Boyle as a hero. I watched “Ned Kelly,” and I don’t want to call the characters entirely similar, but it struck me that in the same way you can be a righteous outlaw you can also be a cop that cavorts with hookers and things of that nature.

I think the problem with “Ned Kelly” is that whenever you make a film about an outlaw with a studio they want to make the outlaw a Robin Hood figure, which is total bullshit. He didn’t give money to the poor or anything like that. The script was twisted in that way so it moved away from being a poetic Western à la Terrence Malick, which is the way it was written, to this sort of standard biopic affair. They’re appealing to Orlando Bloom and Heather Ledger’s core audience at the time. A lot of twelve and thirteen year old girls liked the movie. That’s fine, but they weren’t who I was writing it for initially.

Obviously I think Boyle is a more complex character. He becomes heroic by default, I’d say. He’s kind of pushed into it; he doesn’t push himself to be heroic. We would always say to Brendan, it’s only once the villain comes into his house that he really gets angry. Of course that scene reminds you of the young cop who was killed, so all of that is brought back home to Boyle’s character. It’s quite late in the movie. He doesn’t start heroic.

Did you have Brendan Gleeson in mind when you were writing the screenplay?

Not when I wrote it, but once it was finished and I read it back I couldn’t really see anyone else playing it. If he’d turned it down what would you do? You’d have to go after those younger Irish actors who are stars, like [Colin] Farrell and [Michael] Fassbender. It wouldn’t be the same mood to the film if the character were younger because it has to be someone who is at the end of his tether with the world and who is really disillusioned. What Brendan brings to the part is warmth and empathy. He gets away with a lot of those gags that are quite confrontational because of the essential warmth in his performance. A younger actor would probably play it a lot tougher and a lot of those gags would probably fall on the wrong side of nasty.

Your comedy is markedly different from the usual buddy-cop humor we get here in the US. How did you shape the sense of humor in the film?

American comedy in recent years is a bit more confrontational but it still shies away from certain topics. I also think there’s more of a slapstick element to American comedy. There’s also a kind of anti-elitist element when no character makes any kind of intellectual reference to books or other films or art or philosophy. As I’m writing I just like to amuse myself by throwing in maybe broad references or more obscure references, whether it’s a visual thing or a really obscure literary reference.

The scene with the criminals discussing Nietzsche, for example. An audience doesn’t have to have read Nietzsche, but they get the gist that these are three villains bored of their occupation and just trying to pass the time. Basically the way I approach it is that all of those scenes in movies you’ve seen before, I just try to write the opposite. That’s my governing rule of thumb. Just undermine what we’ve seen in American movies. That’s why whatever I write would have a large dose of humor in it because I can’t really take those films seriously.

Any kind of police procedural is always so po-faced. They always have those scenes in which, say, the Jason Statham character hasn’t arrived yet and people will be talking about him. People will be saying things like “Brant, he’s the most maverick cop on the force!” And then Brant arrives. Denzel Washington always has scenes in his movies where there’s a bunch of old fat white cops who can’t work s$#! out. Then he comes in and goes, “you do this, you do that, and you do that,” and they go, “oh god, that guy just came in and he worked it all out!”

The tightrope you have to walk is that at a certain point your film has to become serious for people. It’s not a goof all the way through if you want those thriller elements to work out. You never know whether you’ve got that right until you see it in the editing room. You could have shot it all perfectly and it could still go wrong in editing, to be honest. We had quite a long editing process. I think that’s endemic to first time feature directors, especially when they’re the writer as well. You can be so in love with your own screenplay and you don’t want to throw anything out. But that’s a learning experience, and hopefully when I make another one it won’t be that torturous an experience.

I say torturous. Sitting in an editing room drinking tea all day and eating scones isn’t that tough a life. The sobering thing is the realization that if you get it wrong, that film that you got wrong will be there forever. Your name will be on it forever. I’m sure a lot of filmmakers don’t really care if they go from bad films to good films, etc., but it would be devastating to me to have my name on a bad film. That’s why I’m not too happy with the way everything went with “Ned Kelly,” to be honest.

Do you have anything in the works now?

I’ve got a film with Brendan that he wants to do called “Calvary” about a good priest who’s tormented by his community. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a black comedy, but it’s a drama with a lot of comedy in it. And I’ve got this one about two corrupt cops in Alabama who basically blackmail and frame every criminal who crosses their path. That’s called “War on Everyone.” I think it’s a catchy title. Those are the two that we’re trying to set up.
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Post by Admin on Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:02 pm

http://www.flix66.com/2011/08/05/michael-fassbender-will-join-colin-farrell-and-cillian-murphy-in-at-swim-two-birds/

Michael Fassbender will join Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy in At Swim-Two-Birds

Posted by: Kristy Sturdivant

Brendan Gleeson (who has appeared in numerous films but I know him best as Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody in the HARRY POTTER movies) is making his directorial debut and has lined up an extremely impressive cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Gabriel Byrne. What’s interesting is that Fassbender was cast in this role over a year ago, but he wasn’t really on anyone’s radar until recently. Regarding Fassbender’s participation, Gleeson says, “That happened about a year ago really. People never picked up on it, maybe because Michael wasn’t really quite the massive name he is now. But we were trying to tell people for ages, ‘By the way, listen: we have the coolest thing on two feet coming in.’ I haven’t asked any [actor] who said they wouldn’t do it.” That sounds pretty intriguing, right? Apparently AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS has scored some financing and the film will start shooting sometime next April.

AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS is a tough story to explain, however, here is how Gleeson describes it, “There will be three separate worlds in the film. It’ll be a bit like THE WIZARD OF OZ in the sense that the real world will inhabit the imaginary world. It’s complex, but in the end, it’s just about a kid in college who stays too long in bed. And doesn’t really know where to put himself in the world and finds that his imagination kind of takes him away. And so that’s really at the basis of it, but it’s a lot of fun.” Does that sound a little confusing to anyone else? Now I’m really interested to see how this turns out.

Michael Fassbender
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Post by Admin on Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:03 pm

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/2011/08/04/brendon_gleeson_michael_fassbender_cast_in_swim-two-birds_a_year_ago/

Brendon Gleeson Says Michael Fassbender Was Cast In ‘Swim-Two-Birds’ A Year Ago & No One Noticed
Says The Complex Meta-Adaptation Will Include “Three Separate Worlds”


One of the more anticipated films around these parts, likely not hitting theaters until 2012 or even 2013, is Brendon Gleeson‘s directorial debut, “At Swim-Two-Birds.” No, we don’t run a Gleeson fanclub, nor are we obsessive fans of Flann O’Brien‘s classic 1939 Irish novel, but the all-Irish cast circling this is too great to ignore.

They include Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and most recently, the addition of man-of-the-moment, Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender, who has cut a swath through Hollywood of late racking up roles in films by Ridley Scott, Steven Soderbergh, Matthew Vaughn, British helmer Steve McQueen, David Cronenberg, Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino. Even Tom Hardy can’t currently boast those kind of stats.

While word of Fassbender joining the ‘Swim-Two-Birds’ cast was unknown until recently, in an interview conducted with The Playlist last week while promoting his indie comedy/thriller, “The Guard,” Gleeson said, it’s actually kind of old, under-the-radar news.

“That happened about a year ago really,” he said of Fassbender’s addition to the cast. “People never picked up on it, maybe because Michael wasn’t really quite the massive name he is now. But we were trying to tell people for ages, ‘By the way, listen: we have the coolest thing on two feet coming in.’ I haven’t asked any [actor] who said they wouldn’t do it. At this point I’ve been fretting about it to the extent that I don’t fret it anymore, I don’t sweat it at all anymore. I know that I’ll know what to do once we get out there. And it looks like next spring is going to be when it’s going to happen.”

One assumes that means financing is in place and the film will be ready to roll come April of 2012, but Gleeson is not counting his chickens before they hatch, understanding full well the mercurial nature of film budgets and financiers. “It’s looking good, but I don’t believe anything now, anything ever,” he said. “I can tell you as long as the day is long, ‘Oh definitely, it’s going to happen,’ and all that, but until I’m actually there, I don’t believe it. But at the moment it’s happening, I can feel it. It’s all looking good.”

“At Swim-Two-Birds” is complex, not an easy read and certainly not easy material to adapt, but the actor-turned-director advises you attempt it anyhow. “When you come to pieces that you have to go on a third time to understand what the paragraph meant, don’t. Just bash through it,” he recommended on how to read the book. “It’s really an accumulation of everything, and it starts to make sense. And then every time you read it after that, you find more and more and more and more. It’s one of those books: it operates on three separate levels.”

And yes, those three different spaces will be broken up as such in the picture. “There will be three separate worlds in the film,” he explained. “It’ll be a bit like ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in the sense that the real world will inhabit the imaginary world. It’s complex, but in the end, it’s just about a kid in college who stays too long in bed. And doesn’t really know where to put himself in the world and finds that his imagination kind of takes him away. And so that’s really at the basis of it, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Gleeson said he can’t count the number of times he’s read the book and said he’s written 14 drafts of the script, but he’s finally giving up obsessing on getting it right. “I don’t really go at it anymore because as I say, it’s become a different thing. I think at some point, it has to move on. You can be fettered by the book as much as liberated by it. I was initially liberated by it, and now I just kind of want to leave because I know that there are kind of other aspects that are peculiar to the film as a film.”

“At Swim-Two-Birds” was featured in Time Magazine’s Top 100 Novels Of All Time and centers on the idea of fictional characters rebelling against their creator. It follows a university student as he writes a novel behind closed doors that seemingly intertwines with characters in his own life. A closer look at the novel’s plot reveals a very complex, meta-fictional tale that would seemingly be impossible to summarize, but it has been described as “a collision between Ireland’s literary, heroic past and its grimy, mundane present.”

There’s no word on who will play who in the film yet, but Gleeson said he’ll be playing the uncle to the protagonist.

Edward Davis posted to Actors, Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, Michael Fassbender, Films, At Swim-Two-Birds at 5:51 pm on August 4, 2011
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