While Gabriel Byrne is thrashing Ragnar on the set of Vikings (we hope!), activity swirls around him and his on-going projects. The outstanding documentary about him is screening in Dublin. The Costa-Gavras film, Capital, is on the schedule for TIFF. The Irish studio where all that Ragnar-thrashing is happening has received a write-up in the American press. Benjamin Black is taking the character Gabriel will soon portray on a new adventure. And the biggest trailer yet for I, Anna is ready to burn up your screen. Byrne-ing News, indeed!

Stories From Home

As part of its series Poetic Truths: The Cinema of Pat Collins, the Irish Film Institute is presenting Mr. Collins’ “acclaimed portrait” of our favorite actor, Gabriel Byrne: Stories From Home. The screening is scheduled for Sunday, August 5 in Dublin.

From their website:

Pat Collins’ acclaimed portrait of the working-class Walkinstown lad turned international film actor largely eschews in-depth examination of Gabriel Byrne’s screen career, instead offering something far more profound, soulful, and deeply engaging. Collins digs deeper, then deeper still, to get to the essence of the man: Byrne, accordingly, rises to the occasion, recounting the events that have defined his life (and the demons that have haunted him) with unstinting candour and a wry sense of humour: recounting his five years spent living in L.A., he describes the city as “Tír na nÓg – a place where people think if they get successful and wealthy, they’re not going to die.”

Deftly utilising candid home movie footage, Stories… captures a protagonist who perfectly fits into Collins’ extended gallery of iconoclastic loners following their own path: he may have been directed by a who’s who of world cinema, but here, as himself, Gabriel Byrne gives the performance of a lifetime.

It is wonderful to see this film being made available in Mr. Byrne’s hometown. The response to it has always been incredibly enthusiastic. We continue to hope for a general release or a DVD release!


Capital at Toronto International Film Festival September 6-16, 3012

From the official festival website:

Special Presentation: Capital

Master filmmaker Costa-Gavras (Z, Missing) tackles the world of international high finance in this jet-setting, globetrotting drama about the closed-doors intrigue and high-stakes power plays at a French financial giant. This is the story of the unstoppable ascent of Marc Tourneuil, an expendable servant of the Capital who became its undisputed master.

The Official Schedule will be published in September. Stay tuned at the TIFF YouTube Channel for a trailer for the film.

I’m rather enjoying these logos on the festival’s website:



No word yet on the possibility of an appearance at the festival by Mr. Byrne. We will cross our fingers, yes? Surely he will be finished with his Viking life by then. It would be lovely to see him in Toronto.

Vikings in the New York Times

Speaking of “the Viking life,” the New York Times had an extensive article on Ireland’s new Ashford Studios in this past Sunday’s edition.

At the brand-new Ashford Studios, 30 minutes south of this capital city, the groaning of saws and whining of drills echoed around Ragnar’s house, a rough-hewed Scandinavian-inspired assemblage of timber that will be the centerpiece of “Vikings,” the first scripted series being made for the History channel, as well as the first production for Ashford, in County Wicklow. Large as it is, Ragnar’s home doesn’t even dominate the room: the 30,000-square-foot main stage is a vast space competitive with London’s Pinewood Studios and is just part of this site that includes 300 acres that can provide rolling green fields or a rock quarry.


Behind the scenes the team includes Michael Hirst (“Elizabeth,” “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”), who wrote all 38 episodes of “The Tudors,” and the costume designer Joan Bergin, a multiple Emmy winner for that show. She said she was brought onto “Vikings” under false pretenses. “My big interest is in when they go to Byzantium,” she said of the Vikings, played in part by the Australian actor Travis Fimmell and the Irishman Gabriel Byrne. “I went to an exhibition at the Met a few months ago, and I had this vision of creating these glorious costumes, so I said, ‘I’ll do it.’ Then I found out they don’t get there till Season 2.”

Presuming there is a Season 2, “Vikings” will thus continue to aid the cause of employment in Ireland. “Our primary focus is to support Irish talent in making audio and visual works” whether it’s Irish co-productions or not, said James Hickey, chief executive of the Irish Film Board, at the Galway Film Fleadh.

Thanks to Scarlett for the heads up on this.

Doll Faced Liar posted this behind-the-scenes pic of herself, our favorite Viking,
and a little one on her Facebook page and we thank her!


New Quirke Book

The fifth in the Quirke series, Vengeance, is due out August 7. Benjamin Black’s detective apparently receives a first name in this outing. He also becomes involved in, you guessed it, a murder investigation. Dublin. 1950’s. Dark, dark, dark. And wonderful. Read the previous four books if you have not already. Gabriel Byrne is set to play Quirke for the new television series, with an adaptation by Andrew Davies, in 2013.

Excerpt of review from the Boston Globe:

Weighed down by his own demons, Quirke seems almost relieved to turn his focus to the problems of others. Quirke, writes Black in a moment of typical understatement, “was not lavish with his emotions.” Like so many great detectives, Quirke is a confirmed loner who refuses to reach out to others because he is afraid that they will disappoint him or try to manipulate him. “What everyone told him was true,” writes Black, “[Quirke] was too much among the dead. But who was going to venture down into the underworld and fetch him up into the light?”


Throughout, Black’s prose is vividly rendered, almost painterly in its detail. As Quirke walks through Dublin, for instance, Black describes how the “sun was still shining but the evening shadows were lengthening; twilight was gathering itself deep in the foliage of the beeches set at intervals along the pavement.” Black also memorably describes the dying elder of the Clancy family, Philip Clancy, as inhabiting his shadowy lair “with the indolent furtiveness of an elongated, big-eyed, emaciated carp.”

Nancy O. at the blog The Year in Books notes (and also links to our article on the Quirke TV series, which is very nice):

In his more literary life, Benjamin Black is really John Banville, whose The Sea won the 2005 Man Booker Prize, and whose new novel, Ancient Light, is sitting on a shelf here waiting to be read.  Benjamin Black doesn’t write the same sort of fiction as John Banville; he’s the author of a wonderful series of crime novels set in Dublin of the 1950s, where Black notes “it was a hard time, a hard city, and a dark place to live.” His main protagonist is Quirke, a pathologist whose curiosity leads him to examine other people’s lives…While these books may not have the same familiarity among crime-fiction readers as those of some of the authors mentioned by Lawson, they stand out due to their literary quality and to Benjamin Black’s devotion to character.

Benjamin Black seems to be channeling John Banville.
And that’s fine with us!

Thanks to Linda for her help with this.

I, Anna

Last but not least: here is the latest I, Anna trailer. Buckle your seat belt before viewing. Seriously. This is thuddingly amazing.


  1. Thanks for all this new information Stella.
    Gabriel is surely a busy man, and that is great for us!

  2. Thanks for all the information. I hope for a DVD release of Stories from Home.

  3. AnnaBlume

    Yeah! Such great news! Capital is being presented at TIFF! I am planning to be there with my daughter. Let’s hope GB will be there too. He seems to love coming to Toronto. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

  4. http://www.irishartscenter.org/

    Spirit of Ireland Gala Friday October 5th!
    Gabriel and Liam invites…

    Anyone going?

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