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Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers #38: 'What Richard Did' Tells of A Regretful Act of Jealousy In a Wealthy Dublin Suburb

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire April 15, 2013 at 4:42PM

Irish filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson ("Adam & Paul," "Garage") gives us a look into the wealthy suburbs of Dublin in "What Richard Did." The film follows a group of Irish teenage boys during their last summer together, leading up to an act of jealousy that affects main character Richard's life. Abrahamson told Indiewire that he hopes audiences walk away with "fewer certainties" after the film and gave a breakdown of helpful Irish slang.
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Lenny Abrahamson
Lenny Abrahamson

Irish filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson ("Adam & Paul," "Garage") gives us a look into the wealthy suburbs of Dublin in "What Richard Did." The film follows a group of Irish teenage boys during their last summer together, leading up to an act of jealousy that affects main character Richard's life. Abrahamson told Indiewire that he hopes audiences walk away with "fewer certainties" after the film and gave a breakdown of helpful Irish slang.

What it's about: It's a kind of dark coming-of-age story about the fall of a beautiful and gifted teenage boy. It's set in Dublin's wealthy suburbs.

About the filmmaker: This is my third feature after 'Adam & Paul' and 'Garage'. I started out studying philosophy (first in Dublin, where I'm from and then at Stanford in the US) but film has been in my head since I was a teenager. I'd made shorts on the side and eventually left academia to try to make films for real. I might be the only person ever to move from California to Dublin to chase a life in cinema.



What else do you want audiences to know about your film? I prefer audiences to walk into a screening with no preconceptions. A film should be complete enough to stand without any extra scene setting or explanation.

But ... maybe a glossary of unusual slang would be helpful and not really cheating:

Gaff - house

Knacker drinking - drinking cans on waste ground. ('Knacker' is a really pejorative word sometimes used to refer to anyone from a poor background)

D4/Dublin 4 - a part of Dublin where lots of wealthy families live, where these kids come form. Bastion of privilege and subject of much satire, suspicion and jealousy in Irish culture.

Culchie (pronounced Kulchy) - someone from the country. Irish for 'hick'.

The Jays - Richard and his gang play schools rugby (a very D4 thing to do). The Jays are the Junior first team, like the S is the senior first team.

GAA - Gaelic Athletic Association, the body that runs all the uniquely Irish sports like hurling and Gaelic football. It's traditionally looked down on by lots of kids from Richard's background as one of the heartlands of culchie-dom

The Nets - Cricket is another D4 sport (both cricket and rugby are originally British sports, hence the tension with the GAA). In cricket big nets are used during batting practice.

"What Richard Did"
Tribeca Film Festival "What Richard Did"



What was your biggest challenge in developing this project? Everything, like always.



What would you like Tribeca audiences to come away with after seeing your film? Fewer certainties.

Did any specific films inspire you? I think all the films I love have a bearing on everything I make.

What do you have in the works? I'm currently in the edit with a film called 'Frank' which is about a wannabe musician who goes on the road with a bizarre band led by Frank, a gifted, if deranged, singer who permanently wears a large fake head. It's strange and funny. It has a strong cast; Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, Carla Azar (drummer with Autolux and Jack White's all-girl band) and Francois Civil (an amazing young French actor and excellent bass player). All the music is original and is played live by the band. No playback. The story is set in the UK, Ireland and the US (we shot in New Mexico earlier this year.)


Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.



Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.

This article is related to: Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers, Tribeca Film Festival, Lenny Abrahamson, What Richard Did