Brosnan heads to Ireland for pet project, Evelyn

Preview by Jack Foley

FRESH from doing battle with another round of villains intent on world domination in Die Another Day, actor Pierce Brosnan will be heading for a somewhat more realistic battleground for his next venture, Evelyn.

Based on true events, Evelyn is the story of Desmond Doyle and his young children, Evelyn, Maurice, and Dermot.

Struggling to raise his kids alone in Ireland in 1953, Doyle is devastated when the power of the Church and the Irish courts take his children away and put them in orphanages.

Vowing to reunite his family, he enlists the help of his friends and, together, they attempt to do what has never been done before – challenge a law before the Irish Supreme Court.

In what is proving to be a difficult year for the Catholic Church and Ireland (see also, Peter Mullan's award-winning The Magdalene Sisters), Evelyn promises to shed yet more light on a dark period in the Church's history, particularly in relation to Ireland.

The film is directed by Bruce Beresford and co-stars former ER star, Julianna Margulies, as well as Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea and John Lynch. It has been produced by Brosnan's own production company, Irish DreamTime, and is a project that the actor readily acknowledges would not have been possible without the intervention of James Bond in his life.

Speaking at the London press conference recently for Die Another Day, Brosnan said that it was a joy to be able to work on both kinds of pictures - from the big bangs of Bond to the much more personal and emotional likes of Evelyn.

"Something like Evelyn is a great thing to be able to make, and to make with my own company, and I don't think I would have been able to make it without having had Bond in my life," he explained. "But as an actor, I want to be able to play as many different notes as possible; I mean, you set out as a young man thinking you can play them all, but then you discover your limitations, or your restrictions, or whatever..

"But it's great to be able to work on a large canvass like Bond and then to come to a more intimate, character-driven piece such as Evelyn. And there is great satisfaction to be had in doing that."

The film is certainly a pet project for Brosnan, who took his family with him to Ireland while filming. As a child, the star spent some time in the care of the Christian Brothers order, when his single mother went to England to find work. She reclaimed him once she was settled - and the rest, as they say, is history.

Brosnan came over to England and settled in Putney, watching his first James Bond film, Goldfinger, at the town's Odeon, and joining the evening theatre club at Oval House Theatre to pursue a career as an actor.

Yet he has clearly not forgotten his time spent with the Christian Brothers as, speaking at the recent Toronto Film Festival to promote Evelyn, he referred to his treatment with the order as being particularly brutal, referring to times when children would be standing up, saying the Our Father, and being 'beaten, punched, kicked, and slapped', while simply trying to get it right.

He concluded that it still 'amazes' him that he should now be an actor, 'getting up in front of so many people', as the experience had resulted in 'a great shattering of confidence at that age'; although heading off to the 'great, glorious comprehensive schools of London' at the age of 10 had made him 'a fighter'.

Evelyn has yet to open in the UK or the US, although it has been glimpsed at festivals, where it has drawn a mixed response. Box Office magazine felt that the movie 'is working so hard to be inspiring, that the actors start wearing halos before they've even earned them', while the Hollywood Reporter said that 'it's traditional movie-making all the way, but it's done with a lot of careful period attention as well as some very welcome wit'.

Keep checking back with Indielondon to find out how it fares when it does open, both in UK and US cinemas.

RELATED STORIES: Click here for an interview with Pierce Brosnan about Die Another Day...

RELATED LINKS: Click here for the Showbiz Ireland website and more exclusive pictures and on-set reports from the film...

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