Published Thursday, 07 June 2012
Back in February, we all celebrated wildly from Kesh to Killough as local hero Terry George and his daughter Oorlagh picked up Academy Awards for their delightful short film The Shore.
Now Terry is back, with a feature length crime comedy set in Northern Ireland and boasting a great cast of local actors and a Hollywood superstar.
Set in contemporary Belfast, Whole Lotta Sole is a fishy film tale that follows the comic mishaps and misfortunes of hapless young Dad, Jimbo Reagan (played by Martin McCann).
Jimbo is having one herring of a week, heavily indebted to big-time gangster Mad Dog Flynn (David O'Hara), he decides to rob the local fish market. But when he makes a complete haddocks of that, Jimbo then finds himself on the run with no plaice to turn.
Looking for a hideout, he holes up in a local antiques shop and takes the manager Joe Maguire (Brendan Fraser) hostage. Together under siege, they discover a family secret that changes their lives forever.
I met up with Terry last year, during the filming of Whole Lotta Sole in Belfast and asked him what was the attraction of making a comedy back home?
"I have been wanting for a while to do a film about the new Belfast, to come here and not have the place branded by the Troubles," explained Terry, "And I wanted to try and get a visual sense of where we are at but still evoke that humour, that dark humour that we are famous or infamous for. I wrote this story and basically it is Dog Day Afternoon comes to Belfast with strange characters all meeting up. I think it will be poignant and funny."
The strange characters in Whole Lotta Sole are played by some of our finest character actors including Marie Jones as Ma Flynn and Colm Meaney as Detective Inspector Weller.
Joining them is American actor Brendan Fraser and I was fascinated by what Terry thought this Hollywood hunk would bring to his Irish crime caper?
"He has that mix of being able to do really broad humour like in The Mummy or George Of The Jungle or Bewitched" explained Terry, "And at the same time he's a really accomplished actor, in Gods And Monsters and The Quiet American. He's interested in trying anything and he's willing to take a shot at this."
Terry George found success in the film business far away from comedy with a series of hard-hitting screenplays focusing on the Troubles in Northern Ireland; In The Name Of The Father, Some Mother's Son and The Boxer. Before his Oscar triumph this year, he was nominated twice before for Best Screenplay for In The Name Of The Father and Hotel Rwanda.
So why now, for Terry, the change of gear into comedy?
" I always like to find a unique world to take people into," said Terry. "Whether that is the prison in In The Name Of The Father or the Rwandan genocide. But here in a much more light way, bring people into the new Belfast and give them a perception of it, and hope that as a comedy and a universal story it clicks around the world."
You can see if Whole Lotta Sole clicks with you at the European Premiere this Sunday June 10th, 7pm in the Waterfront Hall. Cast and crew will be in attendance, including Oscar winning director Terry George and Hollywood superstar Brendan Fraser.