Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Al Pacino: I'm just Wilde about Ireland

Al Pacino and girlfriend Lucila Sola as they attend the Jameson Dublin film festival showing of Wilde Salome at the Savoy Cinema

He is best known for playing mobsters. But movie tough guy Al Pacino was celebrating flamboyant, dandified "trailblazer" Oscar Wilde in his home town last night.

The 71-year-year-old actor was greeted by a large crowd outside the Savoy cinema for a screening of his documentary 'Wilde Salome' as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, which follows Mr Pacino as he directs and stars in a stage production of Wilde's one-act tragedy.

"I came all the way from Leicester," shouted one voice far back in the crowd desperate to have his poster signed.

"Well I came all the way from New York," Mr Pacino good-naturedly shouted back at the fan as he reached over for the poster and signed his name.

For some, the sight of the A-list star on the red carpet was clearly too much -- one female TV reporter announced she was going to cry after the 'Scarface' star kissed her cheek.

Another, faced with asking a question of the acting legend, who played Michael Corleone in 'The Godfather' and Richard III, asked: "If you were going to be stuck as a character in one of your previous movies, who would you choose?"

Mr Pacino replied: "I don't want to be any of those guys. Hang on, maybe I am all those guys."

The 71-year-old posed for the photographers on the red carpet with his Argentinian girlfriend, Lucila Sola, whom he met on the set of the drama.

They went public as a couple in April last year.

The documentary took four years to make, with the actor visiting Dublin as part of his research where he is seen talking to the statue of Wilde in Merrion Square, and thanking him for what he has given the world.

"The authorities in Dublin were really gracious allowing me to film," he said.

"Oscar Wilde was a trailblazer and a great artist. I am indebted to him. I'm stunned being back here tonight where Oscar Wilde was born, and maybe even a little nervous," Mr Pacino told the Irish Independent .

He became captivated by Wilde after seeing his friend Steven Berkoff perform in 'Salome', leading him to direct and act in his own staging of the play in Los Angeles in 2006.

"I was taken to see that play and afterwards I guess, I grew to learn more about Oscar Wilde," he said.

Staying at the Merrion Hotel, the Hollywood star said he had to leave Dublin today, but that he planned to return again on another movie project.

"I always feel so at home here, it's great. In fact, I just want to do a movie here so then I could really stay for a while, get around and see it, and be a part of it," he said.

But asked if he had a chance to drink a pint of Guinness, Mr Pacino said: "Not yet, but I have to stay away from that -- doctor's orders."

And enquiries as to whether the Oscar-winning actor would take on any more big movie roles were answered with a quote from his hero.

"Didn't Oscar say when he felt 'the urge to exercise, I sit down and wait until the urge passes'. I'm like that -- every time I feel like doing a new film, I lie down until the feeling passes," said Mr Pacino.

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