January 16, 2013
The big news today is the casting of Colin Morgan in the third episode of Quirke, entitled Elegy for April, the third in the Benjamin Black series of Quirke books.
Mr. Morgan will be playing the role of Jimmy Minor. If you’ve read the books, you know that Jimmy is slight of build, quick, smart, and a chain-smoker. It will be fun to see him brought to life.
In other casting news, it completely slipped by me that Michael Gambon will also have a role in Quirke. Yes, MICHAEL GAMBON. He will be playing Judge Garrett Griffin (this is character whose first name is Garrett– Quirke has no first name). Mr. Gambon recently appeared in the film Quartet. You and millions of others know him as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series of movies. Sir Michael has appeared in over a hundred films and television series and countless stage productions. I loved him in Layer Cake (an early Daniel Craig outing) and Turtle Diary. And his work in The Singing Detective is legendary, as is the man himself.
Sir Michael Gambon
In addition to Nick Dunning, Aisling Franciosi, and Stanley Townsend, whom we have already noted below, other new cast members include:
Geraldine Somerville, known for her role as Harry’s mom in the Harry Potter series. Ms. Somerville will always be Jane Penhaligon in Cracker for me–she was the perfect balance to Robbie Coltrane’s out-of-control psychologist, Fitz. She will be portraying Sarah in the first episode of the Quirke series, Christine Falls.
Sara Stewart will be playing the character of Rose in the Christine Falls episode. Ms. Stewart has done lots of great television work and was recently in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Brian Gleeson, son of Brendan, will play Sinclair in the Christine Falls episode. Recently in Snow White and the Huntsman, he also appeared in the television series Love/Hate. And he has at least four films in post-production for 2013!
Patrick Munn at TVWise reported on these casting decisions and I really liked what he had to say about the Quirke series in general:
Based on the series of novels by Irish writer Benjamin Black (pseudonym of award-winning author John Banville), Quirke is a new 3-episode drama series which was adapated for television by Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson. Each of the three episodes are based on a different book in the series of novels – Christine Falls, The Silver Swan and Elegy for April, respectively. The drama series follows the eponymous chief pathologist in the Dublin City Morgue (played by Gabriel Byrne) – a charismatic loner whose job takes him into unexpected places as he uncovers the secrets of sudden death in 1950s Dublin. It’s a rich and smouldering world along whose smoky streets and damp alleys Quirke goes from bars that glimmer with peat fires and whiskey to elegant Dublin houses brimming with sexual tension.Each episode will see him investigate the death of one of the unfortunate souls who end up on his mortuary slab. But as Quirke 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.
Finally, here is another pic of Gabriel Byrne as Quirke:
…bars that glimmer with peat fires and whiskey…
As more information becomes available about the second and third episodes, you will find it here, so stay tuned!
November 30, 2012
Benjamin Black’s moody, dark, and Dublinesque stories about Quirke are now being filmed in Ireland as a three-part BBC Drama series. Production reportedly began on November 19.
Gabriel Byrne will essay the role of Quirke, the somber pathologist in a black suit, whom some call Garrett Quirke, although Mr. Black indicates that he never gave that name to his character.
Gabriel Byrne as Quirke
According to the Irish Film and Television Network (IFTN), principal casting has been finalized. Aisling Franciosi will play Quirke’s daughter, Phoebe, a pivotal character in these first three books. Nick Dunning will portray Malachy Griffin and Stanley Townsend, in a bit of perfect casting, is Inspector Hackett.
Stanley Townsend, Aisling Franciosi, and Nick Dunning
From the IFTN article (there are some spoilers in this article, so proceed with caution):
The role of Phoebe is one of the most prominent roles in John Banville’s series of novels focusing on Dublin pathologist Garrett Quirke in 1950s Ireland. The character was further developed in Banville’s ‘A Death in Summer’, which was released in 2011.
Phoebe was once Quirke’s estranged daughter, but has now evolved into a central character with Banville himself describing the character as the one most like him. Speaking in a 2011 interview with Irish America Magazine, Banville, who wrote the books under the pseudonym Benjamin Black, said: “If there is anybody in those books that’s me, it’s Phoebe. She has a darkness and an obsessiveness that I feel… I won’t say comfortable with, but that I feel a familiarity with.”
Young actress Franciosi has been living in Dublin since the age of five, and has recently wrapped filming on upcoming BBC series ‘The Fall’ as well as RTÉ drama ‘Trivia’.
You can learn more about Quirke in this Charlie Rose interview with John Banville, AKA Benjamin Black, from July 2011 [unfortunately, this interview is no longer available]. This interview is less than 30 minutes in length. Please give it a view. John Banville sheds light on the genesis of Quirke, his nature, and the process of creating this character and the Quirke books. It is enlightening and instructive; John Banville is a master of his craft and you will learn a lot. In the interview, Mr. Banville notes:
I don’t like the notion of “genre” at all. When I first started publishing, there was just “fiction”… A good book is a good book, whether it’s a book of poetry, a crime novel, history–or a cookbook.
This is important because, although we think of the Quirke books as crime novels or mysteries, because they are written by John Banville, they are much more. There is a richness to these stories: a richness of character, description, and plot. Ironically, there is as much mystery surrounding Quirke himself as there is the ostensible murder plot. These stories take place in 1950’s Dublin and there is a deep sense of place and time that Banville/Black absolutely nails. Well, it feels like he does, although how would I know? One sign of a great writer is that he or she makes you believe what has been written–the time and place become real and tangible. That certainly happens in the Quirke stories.
On a personal level, I have to say that I’m tickled pink that Gabriel Byrne has taken on the role of Quirke. Almost from the very first page of Christine Falls, I was imaging him as Benjamin Black’s somewhat dour, very troubled, remarkably sensitive and very intelligent pathologist. It is a fantasy made real that Mr. Byrne is doing this series and I am sure he will find his way to make Quirke real for us.
The Irish Film and Television Network (IFTN) Quirke page looks like it will be updated over time.
Read other Byrneholics reports on Quirke: