Belfast Telegraph

Crying Game director's gift to homeland

By Cate McCurry

Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Neil Jordan has donated over 25 years of archive material - including scripts and unpublished drafts - to the National Library of Ireland.

The Irish-born director achieved international critical acclaim for his writing and directing on films including Michael Collins (starring Ballymena's Liam Neeson), The Butcher Boy, and Breakfast On Pluto.

More than 120 archival boxes have been donated to the National Library of Ireland (NLI) and include film and TV scripts, production files, storyboards, plays, notebooks and personal correspondence with artistic collaborators and political figures. One of the documents includes a Michael Collins poster calling for 2,000 male extras for the scene where political leader Eamon De Valera addresses a large crowd "denouncing the Peace Treaty" between Great Britain and Ireland.

The award-winning director was joined by NLI director Dr Sandra Jones and Irish culture minister Josepha Madigan to launch the collection in Dublin yesterday.

Speaking about the various items, he said: "It's everything I have written between 1993 and the present day.

"As you write and make movies, you accrue stuff around you and you don't know what to do with it and it always amazes me that people are interested in it, but in fact they are.

"You get international requests for archives to do with your film or literary work and I'm just glad that I could have it all in the one place. If people want to read it and access it then they can, but they don't have to."

Looking back on his work, he said: "It's weird, there's unpublished drafts of things I have written, there's scraps of poetry.

"Some of the most interesting things to me, is that when you make a movie like the Butcher Boy, Interview With The Vampire, Michael Collins, I don't make it myself.

"It's made by collaborators, the set designers, the camera man, the musician, the costume designers - there's so much artistry that goes into the silly thing you might see in a movie in the cinema."

The collection's highlights include behind-the-scenes pictures of the Oscar-nominated Michael Collins taken while filming on location in Dublin, research notes for the Oscar-nominated Interview With The Vampire and handwritten letters from collaborators and colleagues, such as politician Mo Mowlam and singer Sinead O'Connor.

Born in Sligo in 1950, Neil won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Crying Game in 1992, which he wrote and directed.

In 2003, he was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Irish Film and Television Academy.

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