Gabriel Byrne as Samuel Beckett


Post Production, as of November 21, 2022

Written by Neil Forsyth; Directed by James Marsh

Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Aiden Quinn, Sandrine Bonnaire, Fionn O’Shea, and Bronagh Gallagher

Brief Synopsis

Many parts of the literary Samuel Beckett giant’s life: Parisian bon vivant, World War II Resistance fighter, Nobel Prize-winning playwright, philandering husband and recluse.

Gabriel Byrne and Samuel Beckett at top
Aiden Quinn, Director James March, and Sandrine Bonnaire below

Variety made the original announcement:

Production, finance and sales outfit Film Constellation is launching pre-sales on upcoming Samuel Beckett biopic “Dance First,” to be directed by James Marsh and to star Gabriel Byrne.

Marsh won an Academy Award for best documentary feature in 2009 with “Man on Wire,” and also directed the Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything,” which earned five nominations at the 2015 Oscars, including best picture, and a best actor win for Eddie Redmayne.

Marsh will now be directing his gaze on the life of Beckett, the ground-breaking Irish writer. Titled after Beckett’s famous ethos on life “Dance first, think later,” the film is a sweeping account of the life of this icon of 20th-century literature . . .

“Dance First” has been written by BAFTA-winning screenwriter Neil Forsyth (“Guilt,” “Eric, Ernie & Me”) . . .

Marsh said: “ ‘Dance First’ is an imaginative, playful and often poignant account of the life of Samuel Beckett. The film has a bold structure that sees Beckett discussing his life’s mistakes with another version of himself, an antagonistic alter ego. But you don’t need to be a student of Beckett to enjoy this film – the script is both witty and dramatic, focusing on the key relationships in his life and including some startling episodes such as his active involvement in the French Resistance and his near-fatal stabbing by a pimp in Paris. We have Gabriel Byrne attached to play both the mature Beckett and his alter-ego and we expect to build a powerful ensemble cast around him.”

Variety article by Lee Baraclough, November 4, 2021


More on Beckett:

A brief Beckett entry at

Samuel Beckett’s in-depth entry at the online Encyclopedia Britannica

An exhaustive and detailed report on Samuel Beckett at Wikipedia

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