Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Magic of 'My Left Foot' rekindled at Dublin tribute screening

Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis

The magic of 'My Left Foot' -- one of the peaks in Irish celluloid history -- was rekindled in Dublin last night.

The life-changing 1989 film won Oscars for Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker, and went on to be one of the most successful home-produced movies of all time.

Three of the main players were reunited last night for a special screening in Dublin, which kicked off a season of films by director Jim Sheridan at the Irish Film Institute (IFI).

However, despite being seen by millions around the world, Day-Lewis revealed that during filming himself and the crew "didn't expect anyone would go and see" it.

But see it they did as it kick-started the careers of all those involved.

"This film and working with Jim Sheridan changed my life. I doubt I will have a happier experience. Not just because the film had a kind of success that we certainly didn't expect, but more really because of the way we made the film.

"Jim, with his great openness and generosity, gave me the chance to work properly for the first time . . . I might have had a decent career without this film but the career I have had, and the wonderful opportunities I have had in my life, I had because Jim Sheridan and producer Noel Pearson gave me a chance to do this film," said Day-Lewis in generous tribute.

Dubliner Sheridan in turn paid tribute to Day-Lewis during his speech before the IFI screening attended by many of the original cast and crew, including Hugh O'Conor, who played the young Christy Brown in the film.

Describing the making of 'My Life Foot', the Sheriff Street-born director said: "It was easy with the best actor in the world."

And he recounted how producer Pearson had told him before shooting on the film started that Day-Lewis "didn't mind working with a first-time film director".

"People always say to me: 'Was it a big surprise you got the Academy Award and went to America?' It kind of was but the other side was making the movie with Daniel, I knew there was something really special going on. 'My Left Foot' is the thing that changed my life and Daniel's performance was a huge part of that."

He also paid tribute to Pearson whose idea it was to make the film, based on the autobiographical writings of Dubliner Brown, who battled cerebral palsy to become an accomplished author.

"Everybody can see what I owe Daniel, it's probably harder to see what I owe Noel, who generated the project and whose idea it was. It's great to be here tonight with so many of the people who were involved. I owe you all a great deal," Sheridan said.

Speaking earlier, Sheridan said: "The director Danny Boyle has said 'your first movie is always your best movie' and I think that's true. 'My Left Foot' was a first film and I still think it's an amazing movie."

Sheridan is currently reshooting 'Dream House' with 007 actor Daniel Craig but said he hoped to interest Day-Lewis in further projects after he completes his next role, playing American President Abraham Lincoln in a film directed by Steven Spielberg.

'Jim Sheridan:In Focus' runs at the IFI until February 21.

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