Belfast Telegraph

IRA offered weapons for Boorman film Zardof

By Eimear Rabbitt

Renowned film director John Boorman has opened up about how the IRA once offered to supply guns for use in one of his movies.

In a wide-ranging interview with Hot Press, the 84-year-old Oscar-nominated director told how the contact with republicans took place as he made his cult sci-fi film Zardoz in Ireland.

The Englishman, who has lived in Co Wicklow for many years, said that one night he heard a knock on his front door and it was "the Official IRA guys".

"And they said: 'We would like to use your land for training purposes?' So, I said: 'Do I have a choice?' And they said: 'Yes. We'd only want to do it if you approved'. And I said: 'Well, I'd rather not'. And they moved on."

The director was also offered their help while working on Zardoz, starring Sean Connery.

"I needed a lot of guns and I wanted to import them from London and there was strict prohibition about importing weapons, even though these weapons wouldn't fire bullets. It was a big problem," he explained.

"It almost toppled the production. And then one of the carpenters came up to me and said: 'The lads above can get you all the weapons you want!'"

Mr Boorman said he was able to secure weapons for the film after going through the Irish Government, but said with a laugh: "Anyway, I could've got them from the IRA.

"My dealings with the IRA were, on the whole, rather positive!"

Boorman won best director at the Cannes Film Festival for The General, based on notorious criminal Martin Cahill, who was shot dead in 1994.

He said Cahill once broke into his Wicklow home while he was away, but was identified by the police.

"He stole this gold record for Duelling Banjos (from Deliverance).

"I'm sure he was horrified when he found it was just gold paint on vinyl! And so I put that scene in the film. I got my own back on him!"

The full interview with John Boorman can be read in Hot Press, in stores from today

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