February 22 Update on Ballerina
Release Date, originally set for June 7, 2024, has been pushed back an entire year, to June 6, 2025.
The Hollywood Reporter explains in this report from February 21, 2024:
John Wick’ Spinoff ‘Ballerina’ Delayed a Year to Film Additional Action Scenes
The film will get more action sequences, with ‘Wick’ mastermind Chad Stahelski working with ‘Ballerina’ director Len Wiseman.
The year-long delay for Ballerina is sure to turn heads, but Lionsgate insiders say it is because the film will be filming additional action sequences under the guiding hand of director Chad Stahelski, the mastermind behind the John Wick franchise. He will be working closely with Ballerina director Len Wiseman on the sequences. The studio feels that because its upcoming The Crow film is ready for theaters, it does not need to rush Ballerina into cinemas if they can make it better.
February 11 Original Posting
In the US, according to Weather.com, reporting on Groundhog Day, February 2: “The world’s most famous groundhog didn’t see his shadow Friday morning in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. That means an early spring is on the way, according to Groundhog Day lore.” So, an early spring! Wind and rain, yes. Snow? No. That’s good news for those of us who have been experiencing cold weather, even though this winter seems to have been warmer than most.
And here’s more good news: Gabriel Byrne’s latest films will soon be lighting up our screens, both large and small, and that is the focus of Part 1 of this Byrne-ing News. Let’s begin with a dance, shall we?
Gabriel’s latest film has crossed the pond! Dance First had its US premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Thursday, February 8. Will it hit US theaters and streaming services next? We have our fingers crossed which, as you know, makes typingggg harddddd.
When the Real Meets the Reel, and Vice Versa
Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Schedule Triggers Age-Old Questions Regarding the Odd Coupling of Real and Reel Life
By Josef Woodard | February 8, 2024
. . . Fast forward a century, post-Flaherty, and the 2023 film harvest has, among its most acclaimed and buzzed-about blockbusters, spotlighted real-life legends and dubious stories at the core. Of local note, Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s current program is playing its part in paying tribute to these highly touted films, with evening-long tributes to Bradley Cooper (masquerading as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro), Robert Downey Jr. (as the witness-hounding AEC head Lewis Strauss in the Robert Oppenheimer biopic Oppenheimer), and Annette Bening (as famed long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad in Nyad) . . .
Elsewhere on the program grid, from the old-fashioned biopic spectrum comes Dance First, a U.K. film getting its U.S. premiere here. In it, Gabriel Byrne embodies the complex artist Samuel Beckett, in a film less concerned with standard rules of the biopic road than exploring the Nobel Prize–winning playwright’s tortured inner life.
Interview at El Pais
While attending the San Sebastian International Film Festival for the premiere of Dance First, Gabriel took time out for this interview. There is only a brief excerpt here, so be sure to check out the link below. Gabriel’s comments about living and teaching in Spain in the 1970’s remind us that we might have missed out on the amazing film and stage career of our favorite Irishman, had fate not intervened!
Gabriel Byrne: ‘The Catholic Church has left a black mark’
The Irish actor, who plays Nobel Prize-winning author Samuel Beckett in ‘Dance First,’ discusses the perils of fame
Gregorio Belinchón, Madrid, December 23, 2023
The interview takes place a couple of days after Michael Gambon’s death: as great an actor as he was — and he certainly was — the obituaries remembered him for his portrayal of Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films. Does Byrne fear meeting the same fate? The actor laughs and pulls out his cell phone. He searches and rummages, causing despair among his promotional entourage who want him to go eat, until he finds a video. It’s a sequence from the Quirke series, with Byrne and Gambon. He shows it to his interviewer: “He improvised the whole thing himself. Look, I don’t care. I treasure all these moments with Gambon, with Laurence Olivier, with all the great artists I’ve worked with… What hurts me are those wonderful films have gone unnoticed by the public. What comes after that…”
The big news about Ballerina comes to us from a Collider interview with Ian McShane, who plays Winston in the John Wick films. McShane thinks Gabriel will play the villain in the film. Surprised?! Not really? Is he teasing us? Probably not. I had hoped for an ally role for Good Guy Gabe, but Gabriel makes a wonderfully menacing bad guy, as we know, so this should be delicious.
Ian McShane says:
“They tend to make me sound a bit like an English dictionary sometimes on John Wick. They’re great writers — Michael [Finch] and Shay [Hatten] on those. We go through it, I check with them, and we cut it down to whatever. Len had conferred with Chad [Stahelski], so I think there’s a continuity from the other Wick movies. So it should be very enjoyable. [Ana de Armas] was lovely to work with. I think Gabriel Byrne plays the chief villain, so there’s a good actor for you.” —Ian McShane for Collider
More good news: Ballerina’s co-writer, Emerald Fennell of Saltburn fame, is really HOT right now!
Saltburn, which was filmed on location at an opulent estate, didn’t necessarily dazzle critics. Unlike Fennell’s debut feature, Promising Young Woman, Saltburn was met with mixed reviews. The film’s streaming debut, paired with some of its more over-the-top sequences going viral, has led Saltburn to become an internet sensation. Primed to be a contemporary cult classic movie, the ostentatious and incisive Saltburn cements Emerald Fennell as a singular filmmaker. Thanks to her unique touch, fans of the writer-director will find a lot to love about her future projects, including an upcoming 2024 action franchise spinoff.
Are you excited now?!
The release date for Ballerina is set for June 4, 6, or 7, 2024 — depending on who you read. This film has landed on a bunch of “Most Anticipated Movies for 2024” lists, the best being Variety’s. Check out their entire list to make plans for future movie-watching this year!
No trailer or poster or production stills yet, but they are on the way, I’m sure. In the absence of official production imagery, here is the amazing fan poster created by Nuno Sarnadas in 2022:
Four Letters of Love
Irish newspaper The Donegal Daily is pretty excited about 2024, as you can see:
The Donegal TV and film industry is poised for another blockbuster year in 2024 with the release of several major projects.
Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland (Screen Ireland) has revealed that five productions filmed in Donegal will be hitting our screens this year.
From ‘Cry From The Sea’ filmed in Inishowen, to ‘Four Letters of Love’ filmed in Glenveagh and other locales, the county welcomed a host of acclaimed actors and filmmakers in 2023.
The list of famous faces who worked on films in the northwest last year includes Pierce Brosnan, Helena Bonham Carter, Gabriel Byrne, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon, Sarah Bolger and Aidan Quinn, to name but a few. . .
‘Four Letters of Love’ from award winning film-maker Polly Steele follows a young couple who are made for each other, but fate does not always choose the easiest path to true love. As destiny pulls them together, family, passion and faith drive them apart. The production was made in Donegal and Antrim and the delivery date has been set for early 2024.
So! Early 2024 for Four Letters of Love to hit screens! Well, it IS early 2024, but we will not worry yet, right? Stay tuned for more information in (we hope) the very near future.
The Keep Documentary
This on-going documentary project for one of Gabriel’s earliest films seems to have reached a point of completion! Here’s a brief announcement:
Taking a more cinematic approach to the retrospective documentary form and shot over several years in six countries, A World War II Fairy Tale combines the work of make-up artist Stéphane Piter and hundreds of new interviews with cast, crew, critics & filmmakers. The documentary also unearths a wealth of unique and rare material allowing a much deeper look into the complexity of the filmmaking process and Michael Mann’s working methods. See you in 2024!
There is a teaser video, but it seems to be limited to atmospheric location shots, so we must wait for the real deal later this year. I first reported on this Making Of documentary back in 2015. It is nice to see that the filmmakers have been persistent and can now share their work with us at last.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Stigmata, a fan favorite for both Halloween AND Valentine’s Day (strange, but true) is getting a new Blu-ray Mediabook release from Dark Sky Films, in association with MPI Home Video. It will be released in April. As far as I can tell, this new release contains both the Blu-ray and the DVD versions of the film. So you get 2 for 1 in this release, which is always nice. Check out the announcement with purchasing details. If you have an old DVD or perhaps don’t have this film on media of any kind (insert shocked expression here!), now is your chance to put Father Andrew and Frankie back on your shelf!
The Man in the Iron Mask in 4K?! We could faint. D’Artagnan is one of Gabriel’s most loved characters and now he will be swashbuckling and smiling his way to you via Shout! Factory’s new release from December, 2023. You can get it directly from them or from Amazon.
Live for Films has the details:
The 4K Audio/Video: The Man in the Iron Mask looks and sounds terrific in 4K. Colors saturation is deep and rich, and you also get impeccably sharp imagery, and deep, rich black levels. The print, of course, is devoid of any blemishes or debris. The surround soundtrack has a lot to work with and it doesn’t waste any opportunities to fill your living room with constant surround activity. There’s also a nice low end bass channel that gives many of the scenes an effective rumble that you’ll feel in your chest. It’s a terrific technical effort.
The Special Features: All of the extra features here are archival, but that doesn’t take away from what a solid collection of bonus materials you get. There’s an audio commentary with writer/director Randall Wallace, two interview featurettes, and three making-of featurettes.
The Wrap-Up: The Man in the Iron Mask isn’t really a film that comes up when discussing Leonard DiCaprio’s illustrious career or acting achievements, but as a movie, it’s an extremely enjoyable romp. With this new 4K Ultra HD release, you’ll enjoy revisiting it, or if you’ve never seen it, now is the perfect time to discover a terrific adventure film.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Byrne-ing News for February, coming your way soon, with more news and some Valentine’s Day goodies, too! heart