Gabriel Byrne has been spending a great deal of time in Ireland, as we know. Vikings, the new series for the History Channel, took up a lot of his time this summer and fall, and now he is back to film Quirke, the BBC mini-series based on the first three books by Benjamin Black (AKA John Banville). In addition, when not in Ireland, Mr. Byrne shared his thoughts about Ireland’s plans for The Gathering on an Irish radio show in New York. We seem to be losing him to Ireland, fellow Americans and Byrneholics around the world. Home is calling to him. But that is okay.
First up, some news and pics about Quirke.
He’s just finished one Irish-based production and now acting veteran Gabriel Byrne is busy on the next production in his home country.
He recently finished filming with ‘The Vikings’ but there has been no time to rest.
The 62-year-old has been shooting scenes for upcoming BBC drama ‘Quirke’, which is based on John Banville’s series of novels, which he wrote under the pseudonym Benjamin Black.
Byrne was spotted alongside his cast member and on-screen daughter, Irish-based actress Aisling Franciosi, at the well-known Dollymount Strand in Dublin…
…’Quirke’ will air on BBC One in late 2013.
Promotional pictures, courtesy of Entertainment.ie, have been posted to the Gallery, so check them out. Notice, if you will, the 1950’s haircut, reminiscent of the film Wah-Wah, the fedora (not on his head but in his hand) and the long black coat, a trademark of the somewhat dour Dublin pathologist, Quirke. And please remember that the first name Garrett is not a name given to him by his author, Benjamin Black. Quirke is just Quirke, according to his creator, and he is “impossibly attractive to women,” as well. We can certainly see this in these pictures!
In addition to applying his craft, however, Gabriel also finds time to share his thoughts and his experience with students at the National Film School at the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Once a teacher…
Irish Film Board [This article is no longer available at the Irish Film Board website]:
Today Monday, 3rd December, Gabriel Byrne, will participate in the 49th NFS Lecture at 6pm, which will take the form of a public interview with Roger Greene, Programme Co-ordinator, of the MA in Broadcast Production.
Gabriel Byrne is one of Ireland’s leading actors. After extensive experience in Irish film, television and theatre, he first made an international impression in John Boorman’s Excalibur. He went on to appear on screen in many productions including Defence of the Realm; Gothic; Diamond Skulls; Miller’s Crossing; Into the West; The Usual Suspects; Little Women;Jindabyne; Secret State; and the hugely successful, In Treatment, for which he received two Primetime Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe. He has worked on two projects in Ireland this year: Vikings, currently in post-production, and Quirke, which is shooting now.
Mr. Byrne apparently made quite an impression on those in the room. There was much tweeting and sharing of pictures from the event. Here is one:
More about this event later, I hope.
Mr. Byrne also shared his thoughts on his previous comments about The Gathering, according to the Irish Times:
Byrne last night said he would say it again, but there was a need for a real relationship with the Irish diaspora.
“I think the bulk of what I was saying about nurturing and developing a real relationship with a very complex group of emigrants is absolutely essential. As one guy said to me: ‘stop calling us tourists. We’re exiles, we’re emigrants’. Who am I to keep people from coming to the country? I was merely reflecting the opinions of people I have met in America.”
Byrne criticised the Gathering for holding the official launch at the Guinness Storehouse, which will take place tomorrow, while also criticising Arthur’s Day. “Arthur’s Day, what was the point of that nonsense? That was a cynical piece of exercise in a country which has a huge drinking problem,” he said at Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.
I have opined regarding The Gathering and Mr. Byrne’s statements about it in a previous posting. I do think he is trying to put his comments in the appropriate context (which few responders were willing to do, preferring soundbites to a close reading of his original remarks) when he says: ” Who am I to keep people from coming to the country? I was merely reflecting the opinions of people I have met in America.”
So, Gatherers, I think Gabriel Byrne is perfectly happy to have emigrants and exiles visit Ireland. He just wants to note that not everyone who might be coming over for a visit is a happy tourist. Creating a real relationship with the Irish diaspora is a worthy goal. It will take commitment and energy from many individuals, however–from the arts, business, and government. This process is not all about money, although everyone could certainly use more of that! It is about creating relationships and sharing a history. Not an easy task, but one to which everyone should be able to turn their hearts. Eventually.