Gabriel Byrne has had a very busy Fall!

Two of his latest films, Capital and Just A Sigh, are making a splash in the US, with Capital opening in American theaters today, October 25, and Just A Sigh getting an American distributor, as well as headlining at several US film festivals. His television series are hits, too, with Vikings Season 1 out on DVD and Blu-ray and Secret State receiving kudos and also a wider audience in Canada and other countries.

You will find more details about these activities below.

Some information we do NOT have yet:

There is still no air date for Quirke. I pestered @BBCOne on Twitter for a week and got no response at all. So I have given up. For now. Below is a nice synopsis and more information from Crime Time Preview to whet your appetite. Remember: patience is a virtue. And there are still a few weeks of Fall remaining. Let’s hope we see Quirke this Fall!

quirke-tony-miller-dopQuirke looks a tad peeved here. And understandably so!

From CrimeTimePreview [this article is no longer available on the Internet]

Rating: ★★★★

BBC1: date and time to be announced

Story: A chief pathologist investigates the death of a young woman in childbirth who has ties to his own family.

HERE’S A DRAMA that ticks all the boxes. It’s a crime yarn based on a novel by a literary writer, scripted by Andrew Davies, with a prestige cast, and it’s got period costumes.
Gabriel Byrne stars as Quirke, the 1950s Dublin pathologist and accidental detective who each week will, between pints in smoky pubs, investigate the lives of those who end up on his slab. Michael Gambon is his adoptive father, a rather Machiavellian judge, and Geraldine Somerville is the sister-in-law with whom he shares a past.
The opener is certainly a juicy story, involving the death of a young woman in childbirth who once worked at the home of the Quirke’s half-brother, Mal, and the murky dealings of the Catholic Church when it came to the babies of unmarried mothers.

Gabriel Byrne as the rueful hero

The early half of this 90-minute mystery is atmospheric, making noirish use of its Dublin setting without hitting the viewer over the head with all the museum pieces (oh, look, there’s an oldie worldy wireless!). That is, until the budget runs low and the action switches to Boston, where a vintage American car driving round the Irish countryside is as close as we get to the US.
Gabriel Byrne, fresh from his own sojourn Stateside in In Treatment, really looks the part of the cussed, rueful hero, treading on toes galore in his own family as he tries to discover if and how his half-brother and father are involved in the death of the young woman.
The three-parter is, of course, based on the novels of awarding-winning author John Banville (this opener is taken from Christine Falls), in the guise of his alter ego Benjamin Black, and Andrew Davies, TV’s go-to guy for high-class projects (Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House etc), has adapted it.

Atmospheric, brooding mystery

The opening story is an atmospheric, multi-layered drama that is full of strong performances. Quirke’s half-brother Mal is a snob who looks down on Quirke, who came from an orphanage. Our hero butts heads with those close to him as well as the tight-faced nuns at the Sisters of Mercy Laundry in an effort to expose a shocking crime. The air of menace from those doing God’s work is scary.

And there is a devastating piece of news for Quirke, which is sure to reverberate through remaining episodes. Still to come in this three-part series are The Silver Swan and Elegy for April.

The one reservation is that Quirke, a big prestigious BBC production, feels predictable and safe. Solid literary adaptations in period costume are a risk-free use of licence-fee payers money that hark back to the likes of Brideshead or I, Claudius.

Quirke certainly has enough quality to find a good audience, but it’s unlikely to generate the buzz of this year’s really strong TV dramas, Broadchurch and The Fall, both of which were written for television.

Cast: Gabriel Byrne Quirke, Michael Gambon Judge Garret Griffin, Catherine Steadman Claire Stafford, Geraldine Somerville Sarah Griffin, Brian Gleeson Sinclair, Shane Taylor Andy Stafford,
Diarmaid Murtagh Mick McCoy, Sara Stewart Rose, Peter Coonan Barney Boyle, Nick Dunning Malachy Griffin, Stanley Townsend Inspector Hackett, Aisling Franciosi Phoebe Griffin, Jane McGrath Maisie, Denis Conway Fr. Anselm, Frank O’Sullivan Davy

Finally, no pictures from the Irish Arts Center Spirit of Ireland Gala, held on October 4, have been discovered so far. The IAC reports that pictures will be posted to their Facebook page soon.

Now on with the news that we DO have and there is plenty of that good stuff!


The film opens today, October 25, in the USA and we expect the reviews to begin rolling in soon. So far, though, most of the press involves interviews with director Costa-Gavras, who has been received in this country with much love and affection.

 New Book: The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne

The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne: Conversations on Love, Beliefs, Morality, Grief and Everything in Between, by Gay Byrne, is a compilation of several interviews from the television series and also includes Gay Byrne’s own thoughts and reactions to these interviews. This will make the book really interesting because we usually do not get to hear what the interviewer thinks about the interview and the subject being interviewed. I just used the word “interview” three times in one sentence. Sorry!

From the blurb:

Here, for the first time, Gay recollects the most insightful discussions on the big themes: childhood, love, faith, disbelief, morality, grief—the universal themes that bind us all—and reveals the meaning the interviews have had for him. Interviews include Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell, Neil Jordan, Bono, and Maeve Binchy.

The book is available for purchase at Amazon US where you can pre-order hardcover and Kindle editions.


Just A Sigh

According to Screen Daily:

Fledgling Distrib Films has acquired US rights from Le Pacte to Jérôme Bonnell’s French romance JUST A SIGH starring Emmanuelle Devos and Gabriel Byrne. Distrib Films CEO François Scippa-Kohn made the announcement prior to this weekend’s upcoming (October 12) screening at the Chicago International Film Festival and plans a MARCH 2014 theatrical run. The film premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in April.

This is excellent news for American audiences! This Spring, we can all head out to the theaters and fall in love in Paris without leaving home…!

Just A Sigh screened at the Chicago International Film Festival, Washington West Film Festival, and the La Costa Film Festival in October.

Awards in the International Feature Film Competition at the Chicago International Festival included:

The Silver Hugo for Best Director goes to Jerome Bonnell for Just a Sigh (France) for the sensitive manner with which the director revisits the tropes of the “amour fou” genre aided and abetted by a great actress.

And we would add: a great actor as well…and we would also say: Congratulations, Mr. Bonnell! This is wonderful news!

Here is a lovely review from the Chicago festival that you might have missed, by, who notes:

The classic tenets of any respectable romantic film about strangers crossing paths are all here: a beautiful, complicated woman, a handsome, melancholy man, vibrant snapshots of a foreign city, and an immediate, intimate bond that is very quickly felt. But this movie also is quite possibly one of the most intimately realistic portrayals of unexpected love that I’ve seen.

And there are several Byrneholics postings about the film that you can read if you have not had time yet, including a guest review by Magalie and my own analysis of Gabriel Byrne’s amazing work in Just A Sigh.



The Vikings Season 1 DVD and Blu-Ray releases on October 15 made a lot of Earl Haraldson fans very happy indeed!

Screen Invasion reviews the Blu-ray:

The shows character development is very slow at times, but once the series gets underway the development kept me interested through the end. Partly because Frimmel is great as Ragnar. He is rumored to be starring in WarCraft. Gabriel Byrne is a fantastic villain in most of his roles, and Vikings is no exception.
gbvikingsposterwallpaperThe DVD cover is nice, but I think we like this better…

Behind the Sword in the Stone

October brought an amazing announcement about this independent documentary which looks at the making of Excalibur, a landmark work directed by John Boorman, filmed in Ireland, and released in 1981. Excalibur was Gabriel Byrne’s first film and Uther, his role in the movie, was the first character most of us ever saw him play.

Brought to us by Mark Wright and Alec Moore of Mossy Hare Productions, Behind The Sword In The Stone will have its premiere in Bray, Co Wicklow, Ireland on December 20.

As an Executive Producer for the film, I will be attending this invitation-only event. Am I excited? You bet I am. Be prepared for a detailed posting about the event when I return. If I do return–I might hear the siren call of the West of Ireland and just not come back, you know!


Secret State

Irish Film and Television Network (IFTN) reported that Secret State, the Channel 4 UK mini-series based on Chris Mullin’s book A Very British Coup, has been nominated for an International Emmy Award. Gabriel Byrne played the British Prime Minister, Charles Dance his Whip, and Ruth Negga a young operative caught up in a cover-up. It was a brilliant series. Congratulations to all! Awards night is November 25 in New York City.

And roving Byrneholics correspondent Angelle checked in with this:

Have you seen this? DIRECTV’s Audience Network has been buying Canadian, Australian and UK TV shows recently , and guess what they just picked up for the fall. It ain’t Quirke, but it’s something good.

And she is right! Secret State is on the schedule for Canadian and other viewers–or I should say, as Audience Network says, discerning viewers. It’s a great development for both the series and for Gabriel Byrne, of course. I’m also feeling quite delighted to know that more people will be able to see this remarkable mini-series. Mr. Byrne was wonderful in the role of Tom Dawkins and the rest of cast was, well, stellar is the best word for them, because they were, all of them.

Read the Channel 4 interview with Gabriel Byrne for good background information and a bit about the world of politics.

If you have not seen Secret State yet, it is available on DVD. Go ahead. The holidays are around the corner. Get yourself a little something. In this case, a big something that is very good!

Vampire Academy

The publicity machine is ramping up for Vampire Academy. Lots of interviews. Lots of tweets. Lots of, yes, interviews. And now we have a series of official images from the film to help everyone get oriented to the characters and their world.

Here is the first official image of Gabriel Byrne is his role as Victor Dashkov. Please note: Victor is a very sick man. No, seriously. He is quite ill with a very debilitating disease. So what you are seeing here is not a make-up goof or bad lighting. It is a very sick Victor trying to look regal.

Any questions? wink

BXTb1eYCIAAalmC.jpg large

mark your calendars for special events in November

The Events Calendar is available in the right sidebar of almost every page on this website (not Mega Movie Pages, but all postings pages). The link takes you to the Byrneholics Facebook Events Page. I keep this calendar updated almost every day. If you have a news item, please share it with me and I’ll get it on the Events Calendar and in the Byrne-ing News Box. Thanks!

The Book of Men, a Narrative 4 Project, in New York City

November 6, 7:30 pm

Colum McCann is joined by Gabriel Byrne and others in presenting stories from the new collection The Book of Men, which includes the work of more than 80 terrific writers from all over the world, curated by McCann, Esquire, and the new literary organization Narrative 4.

More information is available at the Facebook Event Calendar page for this event.

Favorite Poems-In Tribute to Seamus Heaney

November 15,8:00 pm

Irish Arts Center and St. Ann’s Warehouse will be presenting “Favorite Poems-In Tribute to Seamus Heaney” as a part of IAC’s fifth annual PoetryFest.

Participants include actor Gabriel Byrne, playwright Enda Walsh, authors Alice McDermott and Colum McCann, and poets Colette Bryce, Henri Cole, Mark Doty, Paul Muldoon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Nick Laird, Conor O’Callaghan, Meghan O’Rourke, Brenda Shaughnessy, Matthew Sweeney, and Craig Morgan Teicher.

More information is available at the Facebook Event Calendar page for this event.

And that’s all the news for October! Stay tuned for more soon and thanks for reading to the end. Here is a treat for your trouble–it is almost Halloween after all!

gbyellowtie9wallpaper1920Download this wallpaper and bring a byrne-ing Gabriel Byrne to your desktop!


  1. Thanks for sharing so many good and interesting news.
    It is really a great thing that Gabriel is so busy, then we have so many things to look forward too.

    We will hope for a soon release date for Quirke.

    The wallpaper is byrneing gorgeous.

    Thank you Stella!

    • You are welcome, Nora! I love to share these old wallpapers–this yellow tie wallpaper was one of the first I ever made.

      And perhaps if we all hope together, Quirke will suddenly appear!

  2. Thanks for the update and the shout out Stella. I’m not plugging DirecTV Audience, but they sure do have taste in bringing the brilliant Secret State to American audiences this fall.

    • Yes, Angelle, I did not mean to make it sound as though you were telling everyone to go out and get DirecTV! But it IS very cool that they are making SECRET STATE available to American audiences. It is such a remarkable series and it deserves to be seen by everyone on the planet.

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