McDon­agh mak­ing his mark

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - CARIS BIZZACA CAL­VARY Now Show­ing at the State Cin­ema

BE­ING frank, funny and opin­ion­ated has given Cal­vary writer and di­rec­tor John Michael McDon­agh grief in the past. The Lon­don- born au­teur ripped apart Ned

Kelly di­rec­tor Gre­gor Jordan and the stu­dio for re­port­edly de­stroy­ing his screen­play for the 2003 drama star­ring late Aus­tralian ac­tor Heath Ledger. He has also said it pushed him into be­com­ing a di­rec­tor, so he wouldn’t have a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence.

As a re­sult, he needed to show he wasn’t all talk when it came to his 2011 di­rec­to­rial de­but

The Guard.

“All the pres­sure was on The Guard, be­cause I bad- mouthed [ di­rec­tor] Gre­gor Jordan and my ex­pe­ri­ence on Ned Kelly,” McDon­agh said.

“You have to make a good film. If you make a crap film, it makes ev­ery­thing you said about that di­rec­tor you didn’t get along with bulls---, be­cause it’s like you couldn’t do any bet­ter.”

Luck­ily for him, au­di­ences loved The Guard, a buddy- cop com­edy with Brendan Glee­son and Don Chea­dle, which be­came the most com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful in­de­pen­dent Ir­ish film.

“When The Guard be­came a hit, it was just a re­lief. Then for [ fol­low- up] Cal­vary, I didn’t feel any pres­sure at all,” McDon­agh said.

Cal­vary also stars Glee­son, play­ing a sincerely good priest the­at­ened with mur­der dur­ing con­fes­sion and given a week to live by a parish­ioner.

“To­ward the end of shoot­ing on The Guard, Brendan and I had been talk­ing about the idea of do­ing a film about a good man, which be­came a good priest,” McDon­agh said.

“I thought there would be a lot of movies made about scan­dals in the church, about bad priests, and I thought be­fore all those come out we should flip it on its head and make a film about a good priest. That was sort of a start­ing point.”

McDon­agh en­vi­sioned it as the sec­ond part of a tril­ogy.

“The third film we’re go­ing to make is about a para­plegic. So that’ll be the three Ps: a po­lice­man, a priest and a para­plegic,” he said.

“I call it the glo­ri­fied sui­cide tril­ogy, be­cause they all go to a fi­nal con­fronta­tion at the end that may or may not end badly and it’s al­most a sui­ci­dal sit­u­a­tion. I can see the box set now.”

McDon­agh is the first to ad­mit Cal­vary isn’t as “broadly au­di­ence friendly” as The Guard.

Apart from be­ing a more art- house pro­duc­tion, it deals with se­ri­ous sub­ject mat­ters – abuse in the church, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, fi­nan­cial is­sues in Ire­land and adul­tery. But along­side a cast in­clud­ing Glee­son,

Game of Thrones’ Ai­dan Gillen and Chris O’Dowd, it also has a lot of McDon­agh’s trade­mark hu­mour, which he’s not about to cen­sor any time soon.

“I don’t re­ally sort of mon­i­tor my­self in that PC way,” he said. “Be­cause a lot of people do and it leads to quite bland work.”

Be­sides, if some­one doesn’t get the jokes, he said they were prob­a­bly not a per­son he would chat to in the first place.

“I just as­sume an au­di­ence is like me and they’ll ei­ther like the sense of hu­mour, or they won’t,” McDon­agh said.

“If they don’t like it, they’re the type of per­son I’d meet at a party and prob­a­bly not like any­way.”

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