Back in November, we first heard the news that Gabriel Byrne was set to star in a new film about the Irish literary legend Samuel Beckett, entitled Dance First and directed by James Marsh, who brought Stephen Hawking to life in The Theory of Everything. So exciting!

Then, the holidays arrived, followed by Gabriel stunning us all by bringing his book to the Dublin stage to rapturous acclaim and a flurry of postings by yours truly. I don’t remember what happened after that . . . wink

And now we have more news about the Beckett film!

Variety has the update!

Aidan Gillen, who played Littlefinger in “Game of Thrones,” and Sandrine Bonnaire, a best actress winner at Venice for “La cérémonie,” have joined Gabriel Byrne in Samuel Beckett biopic “Dance First,” directed by Oscar-winner James Marsh . . .

Marsh, best-known for “The Theory of Everything,” for which Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar, and Oscar-winner “Man on Wire,” will start shooting the film on May 30 in Budapest.

“Dance First’s” cast also includes Fionn O’Shea, who will play the young Beckett. He appeared in “Handsome Devil,” “Dating Amber” and “Normal People,” and will be seen next in “Masters of the Air.” The film is written by Neil Forsyth (“Guilt,” “Eric, Ernie & Me”).

Aiden Gillen, Sandrine Bonnaire, and Fionn O’Shea

Inspired by Beckett’s maxim “dance first, think later,” the film explores the many parts of the literary giant’s life: Parisian bon vivant, World War II Resistance fighter, Nobel Prize-winning playwright, philandering husband and recluse.

Marsh said: “Samuel Beckett had such a radical influence on modern culture, yet despite all the adulation that came his way was acutely aware of his own failings. The film is a playful and often poignant exploration of the life of the literature icon, delving deep into the key relationships in Beckett’s life — mainly the two women he was close to.”

Samuel Beckett
Image from The British Library

This film offers us all an extraordinary opportunity to see Gabriel Byrne do what he does best. Stay tuned for more details!

PS. Sandrine Bonnaire is an award-winning actor, director, and writer, with many notable films to her credit. I will always remember the first time I ever saw her on screen, with the inimitable Michel Blanc, in the strange and unforgettable Monsieur Hire, from 1989. She is incandescent and the Brahms piano concerto remains a favorite even now.


  1. Looking forward to this biopic. Didn’t Aiden and Gabriel work together many years ago ?

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