25 March 2019 The Irish Film & Television Network
Actors
TV
Crew
Digital
Distribution
Education / Training
Equipment
Festivals / Markets
Finance
Legal
Locations Ireland
Post Production
Production
Rep Bodies
JOBS FILMOGRAPHY NEWS WHO'S WHO DIARY GALLERY IFTA
     
NEWS IN BRIEF
Features & Interviews
Production News
Post Production News
VFX News
Animation News
Digital News
Festivals News
Training News
Cast News
Finance News
IFTA Film & Drama Awards
Galway Film Fleadh 2017
List Your Company
Daily News Bulletin
Site Map
IFTN HOME
Scriptwriter Kevin Brodbin on writing ‘The Siege of Jadotville’
23 Sep 2016 : Deirdre Hopkins
Richie Smyth’s debut feature project released to Irish cinemas earlier this week and is set to release to Netflix on October 7th of this year.

Dealing with the real-life 1961 battle between Irish UN troops and French and Belgian mercenaries in the Congo, Brodbin’s screenplay has been paramount in the process of earning acknowledgement for the Irish soldiers.

He talks us through how he came to learn about the siege, his process in crafting a compelling story for screen, and the core thematic elements which framed his approach.

IFTN: At which point did you become involved with the project?

Brodbin tells us he was involved in the project from the earliest stages, having begun in 2010 as a long-running passion project of Smyth’s.

“This was a rip-roaring story about the underdog that had a great universal sense to it. It’s not about our grandfathers' or great grandfathers' grudges; this was a thing all Irish people could be interested in because it’s a universal story. That’s what got me into it.”

What also attracted Brodbin to the project following further research was the role of the Irish as a neutral county in the dense political climate of the 1960s. He also read Declan Power’s title ‘Siege at Jadotville: The Irish Army's Forgotten Battle’, which he says was one of a few resources at the time.

“It also put the Irish in a place we haven’t been before, which is the world stage. If you look at ‘61 it was all brewing. There was The Bay of Pigs, The Wall of Berlin, advisors were in Vietnam already and then there was the Congo. That’s the thing that I found fascinating—the Irish were involved in something which could have tipped us all into another World War.”

IFTN: Which elements were most important to you, approaching the script?

Patrick Quinlan’s son Leo was the first person to introduce Brodbin to the concept of strategy versus tactics, which became a core factor for him structuring the script thematically.

He tells us the on-screen characters of Conor Cruise O’Brien and Patrick Quinlan went on to represent strategy and tactics, respectively.

The second element which Brodbin carried through his work was a quote Quinlan adopted from German army officer Erwin Rommel, which goes, ‘No plan survives contact with the enemy.’

“Those were the two thematic things I latched onto and my job was to come up with a way to express that, not academically or have someone say it, but through the characters and their conflicts. That was the difficulty.”

IFTN: Are there many differences between historical accounts of the siege and the film?

Brodbin describes the process of gathering wider story elements such as the presence of uranium in Jadotville and its use in the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. It was in collating facts such as this that he found himself with enough material to explore how the events of the siege could be presented in a cinematic format.

“It’s not a literal retelling. It’s not a documentary. It’s about finding a structure where the story will grab you, keep pulling you in, drag you and build steam because you care about these characters. You want to know what happens to them and how those experiences make them feel.”

Differences between historical fact and the film include the meeting of Conor Cruise O’Brien and Patrick Quinlan for instance, which never actually happened. Brodbin asserts their face-to-face exchange in the film was essential as these characters are the focal points of representation for strategy and tactics.

The drinking scene between Quinlan and French Commander Falquez, played by Guillaume Canet was also based on an encounter which was actually had between Quinlan and a Swedish ally.

Brodbin tells us he felt this was a prime opportunity to have us meet the enemy before the battle and establish the cat-and-mouse dynamic between the characters in an almost western-style encounter.

IFTN: To what degree did the script change throughout the project?

He tells us redrafts of the script were largely shaped by the South African filming location. It was found on location for instance that a golf course overlooking the compound was not available. This impacted the structure of Brodbin’s action sequences, which in turn had to be reviewed by Smyth from a directorial perspective and redrafted again according to those creative needs.

In his closing comments on the project Brodbin tells us, “It’s not about being accurate, it’s about being true, and I hope and pray that what we’ve done is truthful.”




BREAKING NEWS
EZ Films' National Treasures Selected as Finalist for C21 International Format Awards
Irish Prison Drama 'Maze' Opens in Cinemas across the US from Friday, March 22nd
Brown Bag Films' Angela's Christmas Nominated for Three Daytime Emmy Awards
Three Irish Documentaries to Screen at Hot Docs Film Festival 2019 in Toronto

FEATURES & INTERVIEWS
EXCLUSIVE: Trailer & Artwork Released for David Gleeson’s Supernatural Thriller 'Don’t Go', in Irish Cinemas April 12th
Mark O'Rowe Talks 'Temple' with IFTN
Free Industry Newsletter
Subscribe to IFTN's industry newsletter - it's free and e-mailed directly to your inbox every week.
Click here to sign up.


RELATED NEWS
Jason O’Mara to star in Amazon Drama ‘The Man In the High Castle’
15 Jun 2017 
“We needed to really blow the lid on it” – IFTA-Winning Director Richie Smyth on 'The Siege of Jadotville'
10 Apr 2017 
The Irish Film & Television Academy Announce 2017 IFTA Film & Drama Awards Winners
10 Apr 2017 
Irish Locations Spotlight: #IFTA17 Best Film Nominations shot in Ireland
05 Apr 2017 
EDITOR'S PICK
EZ Films' National Treasures Selected as Finalist for C21 International Format Awards
Brown Bag Films' Angela's Christmas Nominated for Three Daytime Emmy Awards
Festival Highlights for 13th Dingle International Film Festival
SXSW Announces Additional 'BUZZ' Screening for Blinder Film's 'Extra Ordinary'
MORE ON IFTN
Irish Production Companies
Listings for Irish film & television production companies
What's In Production?
The latest info on projects filming in Ireland
Latest Industry Jobs
Job listings for Irish film & television crew

CONNECT WITH IFTN
Find us on Facebook
Follow IFTN on Twitter
E-Newsletter Subscribe
Subscribe to RSS Feed




 
 the Website  Directory List  Festivals  Who's Who  Locations  Filmography  News  Crew  Actors
 

Contact Us | Advertise | Copyright | Terms & Conditions | Security & Privacy | RSS Feed | Twitter