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James Marsh Calls His IRA ‘Shadow Dancer’ Film Starring Clive Owen An “Espionage Thriller”

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

‘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.

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christopher crennell

i got a walk on as an extra for one day in dublin city centre and then we done it in ballymun the same day i truly enjoyed myself…the people on the film set where lovey so thank you very much for that day in july.the film crew where very nice people,and i would like to say a big thank you to ado for the days fliming thaks a mill all looking forward to the film on release.


Looking forward to seeing this film – the kids who got the parts are from Belfast, and have family who grew up in the area, so It’ll be an experience for them to see how bad things really were then – they’ve had it pretty easy!!

Marty Kelly

My Son auditioned for a part in the movie yesterday he’s aged 8. I grew up in the area where its supposed to be set so it would be interesting to see a boy from around the area getting the part.

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