News about Gabriel Byrne is everywhere. There is always something by him, about him, starring him, or including him in the news somewhere. That’s why The Byrne-ing News was invented. If I created a separate posting for each news item that hit my desktop, there would be so many postings that you would scream “Oh look! Another posting from that Stella woman! Enough already!” No? Well, here is Part 2 of The Byrne-ing News for February. Enjoy and have a lovely Valentine’s Day, too. heart

In Treatment

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, and as a remedy for Seasonal Affective Disorder, too, all four seasons of In Treatment are streaming on HBO MAX now.

The first three seasons are the ones always on our radar because Gabriel Byrne plays the lead role. Dr. Paul Weston–thoughtful, generous, full of insight and ANGST. Wait. Angst? Yes, well, even therapists must heal themselves sometimes, or try to. And sometimes they need a little help (I’m looking at you, Dianne Wiest!). The cast of the first season is so amazing–and then the second and third season casts meet that challenge and continue to raise the bar for acting excellence, just as the series continues its brilliant story-telling, giving us patients and a doctor who are complex and real.

I confess I did not watch Season 4, so you are on your own there.

If you have never watched In Treatment, now is your chance. If you have, now is a good time to revisit the series. And if you live outside the United States, search for it. This series is unique. There will probably never be anything quite like it ever again. And Gabriel lives up to his surname, absolutely burning up the screen in this fantastic role.

Interviews with Friends

Two recent interviews with people Gabriel has worked with in the past popped up recently.

Christine Tobin

Christine is ‘back home’ after a long voyage in pursuit of her art, from Western

Revered jazz artist Christine Tobin will be celebrating Leonard Cohen at Ballina Arts Centre on Saturday, January 20th, singing her beautiful arrangements of his songs from A Thousand Kisses Deep, the album which won her the Herald Angel award when she performed it at the Edinburgh Fringe. Now living in rural Roscommon, which inspired her latest album Returning Weather, Christine’s life journey so far has been multi-faceted and fascinating. . .

. . . Two seasons in Butlins followed, in Mosney, Meath; the first, when Christine was 12, was a reprise of her role in the variety show. When she was 13 she graduated to the cabaret lounge, singing “stuff in the charts, like The Way We Were.” 

And then she stopped singing. Like that part of her life was done; she was a teenager now; time to move on. Gabriel Byrne disagreed; he thought she needed to be a singer. He was her Spanish teacher at Ardscoil Eanna in Crumlin; he was doing drama classes at night and would put on little plays and series of sketches with the students. 

“He heard me sing, and was very encouraging,” remembers Christine. “‘You should do that,’ he said. ‘This is what you should do.’ But I was a teenager and didn’t see how singing could be a job.” For himself, Gabriel Byrne dropped out of teaching and went into acting as a full-time career. “And my headmistress said, ‘Oh, Mr Byrne’s very foolish, giving up a secure job for that’.” 

You will remember her album Sailing to Byzantium. Gabriel contributed to three songs on that album. Karma works in mysterious ways, true. Talent and the creative drive work in mysterious ways, too. It’s good to see Christine continue to pursue her craft passionately and with resolve, just as Gabriel continues to pursue his. heart

Tommy Tiernan

Courtesy of The Guardian

Tommy Tiernan has a show. It is quite unlike anything else on television. Anywhere.

From RTÉ

Now in its eighth season, The Tommy Tiernan Show is a primetime vehicle unlike any other: the guests are not revealed to the host until they walk out, the script is unwritten and the conversation can go anywhere.

“No other country wants to do this chat-show,” says the comedian, actor and writer, who came up with the novel idea which was pitched as a global franchise, but with no takers so far. The show’s uniqueness owes a lot to the host who boldly goes, following a map-less path . . .

And yet, when I ask him what he might have learned about himself through quizzing others, he pauses, repeats the line, and says finally: “I don’t think that I’ve learned anything about myself. Is there going to be a test?”

There have been moments when the tables were turned, most memorably when the actor Gabriel Byrne, having been asked if he considered himself strange, put the same question to the chat-show host. “I am a strange person,” replied Tiernan. “I’d be difficult to live with, but I’d be ultimately harmless.”

Harmless? I doubt that, I say. Tommy laughs. “You have no value to the culture if you are harmless,” he agrees. “You might be a wonderful human being and a great neighbour but being harmless is not what culture thrives on. Last year, we lost Christy, Sinéad and Shane and part of what we valued about them was their untameability. They didn’t run with the herd; they weren’t harmless. With me, my wiring is such that I’m a bit unsettled, and that’s something that I’m not entirely in control of.”

Read the entire interview with this engaging “strange” man!

Tommy’s interview with Gabriel was so much fun!

Marco Polo!

No, we’re not in a swimming pool. We’re checking out this article from Movieweb, which ranks Netflix’s first ten original series. Marco Polo, coming in at #9, told the story of the heroic Italian explorer and his experiences at the Chinese court in the 13th century. Kublai Khan was portrayed by the fantastic Benedict Wong, who made that legendary figure a living, breathing, sometimes frightening reality. The series focused on their relationship.

Memorable stars like Michelle Yeoh, Gabriel Byrne, and Joan Chen are just some of the actors who helped round out the exceptional cast for the historical program.

A stunning but costly production: After originally being developed by Starz, Marco Polo was picked up by Netflix with a massive budget of $90 million, becoming the second most expensive television show in the world behind Game of Thrones.

While the first season failed to impress critics, the drama’s second garnered widespread critical acclaim and earned both a highly-coveted 100% Rotten Tomatoes score and a Primetime Emmy nod. In 2016, Netflix canceled the series in large part because of its hefty price tag, with the streamer losing $200 million on its two seasons.

And that is what killed it–just too expensive to produce. What a loss. Although Gabriel appeared in only one episode of the series, he made a memorable Pope Gregory X and who knows? Gregory might have popped up again had the series continued. It was gorgeous TV, and I was sorry to see it go.

A Dangerous Woman

Long ago, in a galaxy far far away, I discovered a LASER disc version of this film, originally in theaters in 1993. I had never been able to find it on DVD. So I bought the laser disc, of course. Then, I discovered a lovely place on the Internet that carried DVDs of cult movies, old movies, out-of-way movies, that also provided a transfer service. So, I sent my laser disc version of A Dangerous Woman off and back came a DVD version. Yay!

Fast forward to now on Planet Earth. Everyone is streaming A Dangerous Woman! You can rent it or buy it and play it on home screens all over America and I don’t know where else. Isn’t that just wonderful!? Sometimes technology and progress do rhyme.

Amblin has a page for A Dangerous Woman, so check it out for links to all of the streaming places you can find this film now (Amazon, VUDU, AppleTV+, etc.) There is also a lovely (long) synopsis and a gallery of gorgeous production stills. I grabbed one, just for us.

Gabriel Byrne as Mackey and Debra Winger as Martha

The VUDU synopsis of the film:

Debra Winger gives a chilling, award-worthy performance in this haunting drama of a woman nobody notices until it’s too late. Martha is an awkward, emotionally fragile woman who lives a quiet life in the guesthouse next to her Aunt Frances (Barbara Hershey). Unable to lie, she exists along the fringe of society and is used to the taunts that follow her wherever she goes. But when an alcoholic handyman begins work on Frances’ property, both women become intrigued by his presence.

Yes, that alcoholic handyman is portrayed by Gabriel Byrne. I will not bore you with the details of his absolute HOTNESS in this film. All three principal leads are fantastic, with Debra Winger leading the charge. The film can be troubling at times–in the best way, by portraying reality and the lives of people we can recognize, with story-telling that is by turns touching and tragic–and it is a fascinating entry in Gabriel’s catalogue of great movies.

Go watch it. By the end, you may remember the Dangerous Man in the film as much as the Dangerous Woman. heart

Be Mine

I promised Valentine’s Day Goodies, so here is a sample, because you’ve been so nice to read to the end of Part 2 of this Byrne-ing News. Alone, with the one you love, with a group of friends, with your faithful dog (how I usually celebrate!)–however you choose, enjoy something sweet (candy, cookies, a kiss!) and watch a Gabriel movie. Just A Sigh, Siesta, I, Anna, Little Women, Smilla’s Sense of Snow–you get the idea.

As a Gabriel Fan of many years, I can report that there is no better way to celebrate this romantic day than in the (virtual) embrace of our favorite Irishman. If you can add a romantic real life dinner into the mix, bravo! If not, you’re good. Gabriel will help you burn the night away. wink

The Goodies

Here’s a Valentine to Gabriel I created in 2011.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you! heart heart heart

One Comment

  1. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too, Stella. Thank you for these three lovely February updates and reminders about his great films !!

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