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'Tara Road' Released This Week
06 Oct 2005 :

Released across Ireland this weekend, the big screen adaptation of ‘Tara Road’ has been eagerly anticipated. Shot in Dublin during Autumn 2004, the €13.8m movie is a sweet prospect boasting the directorial talent of Gillies MacKinnon and a dream ensemble cast that includes Andie MacDowell, Olivia Williams, Iain Glenn, Brenda Fricker, Alan Devlin, Stephen Rea, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Sarah Bolger.

When the ‘Tara Road’ world premiere was held in Dublin, the biggest cheer of the night went to Maeve Binchy. You could argue that she is indeed the leading light of the show with Hollywood starlets Andie MacDowell and Olivia Williams naturally playing second fiddle to the Fairy Godmother of Irish Fiction on her home turf. Loved across the globe, Binchy counts Oprah Winfrey among her countless fans and her novel, Tara Road, one of her biggest selling exports. (5 million copies in the US alone)

Iain Glenn with co-stars Olivia William & Andie MacDowell (courtesy of ShowbizIreland.com)

The morning after the gala screening, cast, director and Binchy have set up camp at the Westbury hotel in Dublin ready to run the promotional gauntlet. Journos, radio jockeys, TV crews and PR people buzz about the lounge chatting about Maeve, Olivia and Andie, like they were old friends who’ve popped over for a cuppa.

IFTN sits among the press pack, waiting for a twenty minute interview with Iain Glenn. Now, given the star power in town, Glenn is of particular interest to us, as he is an excellent theatre, film and television actor and was instrumental in the success of one of Ireland’s finest films ‘Song For a Raggy Boy’, expertly playing the role of Brother John in Aisling Walsh’s multi award winning account of institutional child abuse.

Glenn began his professional acting life studying at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) alongside fellow graduates that included Ralph Fiennes, Jane Horrocks and Clive Owen. His credits, which include the ‘Tomb Raider’ films; ‘Resident Evil:Apocalypse’; the TV series ‘Kidnapped’; ‘The Young Americans ‘and ‘Gorillas in the Mist’; display his extensive versatility and range. His theatrical appearance even more so having appeared in ‘Macbeth’, ‘Martin Gureer’ and ‘The Blue Room’ (with Nicole Kidman) for which he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actor. In ‘Tara Road’ Glenn plays the deviant cheating cad, Danny, the catalyst of the story who tells his loving wife and mother of his children Ria (Williams) that he’s found a younger model and is having a baby with her. Ria’s devastation results in her agreeing to swap homes with Marilyn (MacDowell) who lives in the United States. Glenn plays his character with ease allowing the audience to both pity and despise Danny elevating him above the usual chick flick hate figure fare.


Iain Glenn in Tara Road

Our time has come and IFTN’s interview begins with the obvious question: Why get involved in a movie like this?  Naturally, the films popularity among female audiences will be vital to its success, but is this a film you would watch yourself?

I think so, it’s hard to say, to put myself outside of it now. I’m really not an action film fan, generally a lot of the big action-studio stuff is not really my bag. I just like to see people living their lives and films that try to tell us about who we are, so yeah.  I think the men have their comeuppance and I certainly do within the course of the film, and fair play!  I think there are enough films going around with men dominating in a very different way and I think it’s great to hear the female voice coming through with such clarity.

Obviously this book has such a huge fanbase who would have preconceived notions of Danny’s character and what he should be.  Was that something you thought about whilst preparing for the role?

No you can’t really get tied down by that.  You’d grind yourself to a halt if you tried to project onto what other peoples impression of this person might be and try to adjust to that.  You just have to treat it as an actor taking on a role, y’know hopefully you meet to some degree peoples notions of it.

After reading the book were you confident you could take that character on?

I’ve done many films where the experience of the character has absolutely nothing to do with and has no relation to me, but if it feels true and it feels accurate and I understand the motivation of that person, then everything is up for grabs. I think certainly actors are probably more turned on by doing stuff that has no direct relation to our own lives but I read the novel and I thought it was just full of the most wonderful stuff as an actor for the role and what you have to stop doing is trying to cram 30 pages of description into the film.

Male infidelity is a bonding topic for women, would you agree?

I think it is and I think it’s a fair axe to want to grind. It’s prevalent amongst men but then the paradox is that it takes two to tango doesn’t it?  Men are not doing it on their own, they are doing it with that woman who is sharing that experience. Hummm, it’s a complicated mix.

Maeve is quoted as saying you are “exactly” what she imagined, how does that make you feel?

Oh great, that’s lovely to hear.  I’ve always been slightly neurotic about writers’ opinions because I admire them so much. It’s something that I can’t even begin to do, the process of writing, you must have a fervent imagination to get the words on the page and in some plays and things that I’ve done on other films when there are writers present, if the writer feels that I’ve done okay then, that’s it, job done.

And what was the atmosphere like on set?  How did you find working with the Irish crew?

It was really easy going.  The Irish crews in general are great.  The people here are very good at what they do and there’s just an honesty to the approach, people respect each other ' s departments knowing everyone is being employed for the job that they do.

Iain on set with Gillies MacKinnon

Sometimes on sets people tread on each others toes and there’s over enthusiasm from one department. Those things can get tricky but the Irish crews  are great , the ones that I’ve worked with anyway, and there’s no divide between cast and crew which is good. 

After Pat O’Connor’s Fools of Fortune and Song For a Raggy Boy, this is your third feature film shot in Ireland, how have you found your time here?

It’s always great. I always love filming in Ireland. I think there’s an artistic freedom and integrity for directors who are generally making the films they want to make. There are not too many money men or commercial pressures on them and they are given free reign to make what they envisage. That’s great and it’s quite rare.  Either you’re in studio set ups with much bigger budgets and you feel there are so many voices that are going around, people trying to influence and have their opinion, it just permeates onto a set and doesn’t create the right mood, or low budget things that have been constricted by the lack of money and by terrible compromises that have to be made left right and centre just to get the thing done. My experience so far in Ireland, I don’t know if Tara Road entirely fits into that category, but certainly in Song & Fools you just felt the director was allowed to get on with it and you were doing the script that you signed up to do.


Iain Glenn in Song For a Raggy Boy

Song For a Raggy Boy was voted the Best Irish Film at the 2004 IFTA’s by the Irish public, how do you feel about that film’s success?

I was very proud of it and I am hugely fond of Aisling Walsh as a director. I’ve worked with her a couple of times and she’s one of these special people

to me and I hope that we’ll continue to have a relationship through her working life. We’ve often talked and we still do, so I am really pleased, very pleased for her and it’s such an important subject for the Irish people.

I think it’s good to have that story told. Some people said ‘this is territory we’ve already covered with Magdalene Sisters, do we need it?’ and I think yeah we do actually.  We need to reiterate what happened, exorcise those demons and we need to try to look at a truth, however harsh it was. It was that harsh, certainly from the research that I’ve done. 

It’s one of those movies I’m proud of, I’m really proud that it did well and I think it’s a credit to the Irish audiences and the film industry in that it was recognised, it wasn’t pushed aside.

The Raggy Boy shoot must have been very different to Tara Road, dealing with such different subject matters?

Yeah, Song For a Raggy Boy was dictated by forty wild kids (laughs) . They were uncontrollable as they’d all been hand picked by say boxing clubs around Ireland, so that was a pretty wild dynamic that had to be dealt with every day.  Tara Road was much more subdued, sweeter and more easy going, I guess with a very established cast.  There were kids in it but they were very professional about their work, don’t get me wrong, Raggy Boy had a lot of fantastic kids who were a joy to work with but paradoxically they had a very different feel.

Did you offer any advice to the young actors?

Don’t do it like me (laughs) No, Gill i es was fantastic with the kids and I wouldn’t interfere with that.  A couple of times when you have to be somebody’s Daddy and you go up and say ‘listen it’s okay, I’m gonna come and grab you, throw you up in the air and give you a kiss on the cheek,  lets rehearse that so it doesn’t feel odd’.

And what advice would you offer aspiring actors?

Oh dear (pauses)…I’d say if you really wanna do it you should go for it. It will be tricky, it’s never how you’d imagine it to be and there’s no real logic to it, how a career shapes or if it ever shapes at all.  If you’ve got a passion for it, you should go for it but don’t get caught up in all the showbiz shite. Keep your feet on the ground, each job is what it is and all you should focus on is trying to get better at what you do.

Have you always wanted to be an actor?

I didn’t think about it until I was about 19 when I was at university, that’s when I decided to go for it.

What was it that spurred you on?

Ummm, I don’t know.  I was a bit thick at school and I had to spend an extra year getting to University so a lot of my contemporaries had already gone.  I went to Aberdeen University and when I arrived there a couple of my good mates had joined the drama society for a giggle and then I got involved.  I took a small role in The Crucible playing Marshal Herrick, which funnily enough I am going to at the RSC next year playing John Procter.  (pauses again and smiles) Yeah, I think there was a girl who I quite fancied at the time who came to see it.  She walked up to me afterwards and said ‘yeah, you looked alright up there’ and I thought ‘Oh? Okay right, well I’ll stick with this then’. (laughs)

By Tanya Warren

Tara Road is a UK-Ireland co-production produced for Surefire 3 Film Production LLP by Ferndale Films (TR) Limited and SRP Tara Limited. Produced by Noel Pearson, Sarah Radcliffe, Miron Blumental and Annemarie Naughton.

Tara Road is released nationwide from the 7th of October through BVI (Ireland)

Credits:

----------------------------------

In alphabetical order:

Andy JEAN-MARC BARR

Annie SARAH BOLGER

Brian JOHNNY BRENNAN

Secretary JENNIFER BUCKLEY

Mrs. Doyle VIRGINIA COLE

Nora EILEEN COLGAN

Barney ALAN DEVLIN

Rosemary MARIA DOYLE KENNEDY

Waitress CATHERINE DUNNE

Limo Driver ENRIQUE FONSECA

Heidi JIA FRANCES

Mona BRENDA FRICKER

Polly BRONAGH GALLAGHER

Danny IAIN GLEN

Hubie JAMES HERRICK

Accountant BOSCO HOGAN

Pianist ALISON HOOD

Dale CHRIS JACO OLCKERS

Busker CHRISTOPHER LAWLOR

Marilyn ANDIE MACDOWELL

Bernadette HEIKE MAKATSCH

Jerry MAC McDONALD

Taxi Driver PAT McGRATH

Finola DEARBHLA MOLLOY

Henry LESLIE MONGEZI

John SEAN POWER

Colm STEPHEN REA

Zach DAVID TEN VELTHUIS

Carlotta RUBY WAX

Ria OLIVIA WILLIAMS

Greg AUGUST ZIRNER

------------------------------

Director Gillies MacKinnon

Screenplay by Cynthia Cidre

Shane Connaughton

Producer Noel Pearson

Producer Miron Blumental

Producer Sarah Radclyffe

Director of Photography John de Borman BSC

Production Designer Derek Wallace

Film Editor Pia Di Ciaula

Music Composed by John Keane

Casting Nuala Moiselle

Frank Moiselle

Executive Producers

James Atherton

Chris Auty

Jürgen Biefang

Bill Godfrey

Michael Henry

Norman Humphrey

Herbert G. Kloiber

Brendan McCarthy

AnneMarie Naughton

Mark Woods

Line Producer Des Martin

Line Producer – South Africa Brigid Olën

Costume Designer Lorna Marie Mugan

First Assistant Director PETER AGNEW

Second Assistant Director CATHERINE DUNNE

Sound Recordist KARL MERREN

Supervising Art Director IRENE O’BRIEN

Production Accountant ROB QUIGLEY

Location Manager CATHY PEARSON

Script Supervisor KATHLEEN WEIR

Chief Make-Up Artist AILBHE LEMASS

Key Hair Dresser DEE CORCORAN

2 ND unit Director ( south Africa) RONAN O’ LEARY

Focus Puller ALAN BUTLER

Clapper Loader CONOR CROWLEY

Trainee Loader BRÍAN DUNGAN

Grip JOHN MURPHY

Steadicam Operator ALASTAIR RAE

Video Assist WILLIAM ROTHSCHILD

“B” Camera Focus Puller DAVID GRENNAN

“B” Camera Grip AIDAN GRIFFIN

Boom Swinger DANNY CROWLEY

Sound Trainee IAN JOHNS

Art Director Co-Ordinator LINDA MURPHY

Standby Art Director MICHAEL HIGGINS

Art Department Trainee MELANIE DOWNES

Assistant Location Manager MICHAEL SWAN

Location Trainee LEE RUSSELL

Assistant Accountant EMER EGAN

Accounts Assistant ORLA COLLINS

Dialogue Coach BRENDAN GUNN

Production Co-Ordinator AOIFE CASSIDY

Assistant Co-Ordinator STEVEN DAVENPORT

Production Assistant KAREN MORAN

UK Co-Ordinator REBECCA FARHALL

UK Assistant Co-Ordinator THOMAS FICKLING

Assistant to Gillies MacKinnon EDEL KAVANAGH

Assistant to Sarah Radclyffe ANNA WEBSTER

Third Assistant Director SANDRA CORBALLY

UK Runner EMILY MARCUSON

Production Trainee JULIEANNE CAROLAN

Trainee Assistant Directors DAISY FORTUNE & CIARA LYONS

Trainee Assistant Director Stand In JENNIFER Mc CANN

Extras Co-Ordinator ANNE WARTER

Make-Up Assistant ASHLING NAIRN

Hair Assistant LORRI ANN KING

Costume Supervisor SUSAN O’CONNOR CAVE

Assistant Costume Designer DEBBIE MILLINGTON

Costume Assistant CASSANDRA STEYN-TAYLOR

Costume Trainee CATHY YOUNG

Props Master EAMONN O’HIGGINS

Props Buyer / Decorator EMER McAVIN

Trainee Buyer ANNE FITZSIMONS

Standby Props ANTHONY NUGENT & DAVE WALLACE

Dressing Props DARRAGH LEWIS & RENE KNOL

Store Person ARAN BYRNE

Runabout Props CONRAD PHILLIPS

Stunt Co-Ordinator ( Ireland) PATRICK CONDREN

Stunt Co-Ordinator ( South Africa) MO MARAIS

Stunt Doubles LEANDER LACEY

DARYL ANDREWS

Gaffer LOUIS CONROY

Best Boy NOEL CULLEN

ElectriciansKIERAN DEMPSEY, STEVEN CARTY, BARRY CONROY, NOEL HOLLAND

Genny Operator SEAN CREAGH

Construction Manager RUSS BAILEY

Supervising Carpenter MANUS DALY

HOD Painter OWEN MURNANE

Painters MARTIN O’SHAUGHNESSY & BILLY RICHARDSON

HOD Stagehand TONY KELLY

HOD Rigger ROBBIE REILLY

Standby Carpenter PAUL KEOGH

Standby Painter GERRY RICHARDSON

Standby Stagehand SHANE DONNELLY

Standby Rigger RICHARD LANG





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