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James Marsh Calls His IRA 'Shadow Dancer' Film Starring Clive Owen An "Espionage Thriller"

Photo of Cory Everett By Cory Everett | @modage April 11, 2011 at 4:18AM

'Man On Wire' Director Wants To Keep Vacillating Back And Forth Between Docs and Features
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'Man On Wire' Director Wants To Keep Vacillating Back And Forth Between Docs and Features


Last week some news broke about "Man On Wire" director James Marsh's next project, the IRA thriller "Shadow Dancer." Namely that Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall were no longer attached and replacing them would be actors Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough. Marsh said that the film, which would begin filming next month, would be similar in tone to his installment of the "Red Riding Trilogy." We spoke with the Academy Award-winning director late last week about his latest documentary, "Project Nim," the extraordinary story of the famous 1970s chimpanzee who learned to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child, and got a few more details on the story.

“It’s set around the peace process in Northern Ireland," Marsh said. "There’s a conflict in Northern Ireland that plays out from the late '60s to the early '90s. And towards the end of that conflict our story is set. It’s an espionage thriller around an informant who’s within the IRA who’s reporting on their own family. So it has an extraordinary premise where someone is forced and coerced to snoop on their own family and report to the British services what's going on. And there’s a whole other twist to it but that’s sort of the starting point for it. It’s a very interesting psychological idea and it’s based on certain true stories. So I’m doing that as we speak and that should be done by the end of the summer.”

Based on the novel by Tom Bradby, the script recently landed on the Brit List of best unproduced screenplays. We were big fans of the "Red Riding Trilogy" and early word from Sundance on his next film, the doc "Project Nim" is very strong, so our anticipation for this one is very high. Marsh seems to be one of the few directors who can seamlessly transition between docs and features and that seems to be just the way he likes it.

“So at the moment I seem to be going from a documentary to a feature to a documentary, I know that’s a really healthy and interesting priviledge I have, that I can do that," he said. "You get a little burnt out on one and you get a chance to work things a different way on a feature then you would do on a documentary. The means of production are very different and the time periods are very different too, so for me I’m very fortunate to have that opportunity. I’m trying to make that my Modus operandi that I’ll bounce from one to the other.”

"Project Nim" will hit theaters July 8th while "Shadow Dancer" will probably see a release sometime in 2012.

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Actresses, James Marsh, Shadow Dancer, Andrea Riseborough


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