Friday 30 January 2015

Exclusive: Jeremy Irons and Jonathan Rhys Meyers to take on 'prominent roles' in big screen's 'The Secret Scripture'

Published 19/03/2014 | 07:41

The two well-known stars are in negotiations to join female leads Jessica Chastain and Vanessa Redgrave in the big budget production

Actors Jeremy Irons and Jonathan Rhys Meyers are set to join the cast of the silver screen adaptation of Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture.

The Irish Independent has learnt that the two well-known stars are in negotiations to join female leads Jessica Chastain and Vanessa Redgrave in the big budget production, which will start filming this June, and are expected to sign contracts in the next 10 days.

Rhys Meyers (36) returned to work in front of the camera last year after a lengthy absence from the screen.

He appeared in Hollywood blockbuster The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones and also played the lead in Sky series Dracula.

Academy Award winning Irons last featured in Neil Jordan’s period drama The Borgias, which was axed by Showtime mid way through its third season in June 2013.

The 65-year-old husband of Sinead Cusack has since signed on to star in The Man Who Knew Infinity and is also connected to the Man of Steel sequel.

It is not yet known what characters Irons and Rhys Meyers are being lined-up to play in The Secret Scripture, but a source confirmed they will both take on prominent roles.

The project, which has been in the pipeline for nearly two years, will be entirely shot in Ireland over the summer, with an Irish crew – giving a further boost to the film industry as well as the Irish economy. 

Jessica Chastain app.jpg

Female lead Jessica Chastain to be joined by Irons and Rhys Meyers

The movie is being produced by Noel Pearson, who is behind critically acclaimed movies My Left Foot and The Field.

A contract securing two-time Oscar-nominated Chastain and Academy Award winner Redgrave was settled last year.

The Secret Scripture was released in 2008. The novel is told by Roseanne, who is uncertain of her age and recounts her journey in asylums in Ireland for over sixty years.

As the story unfolds, audiences discover the why and the how of Roseanne's incarceration and are also introduced to the second narrator of the novel, Roseanne's psychiatrist Dr William Grene.

Chastain will portray a younger Roseanne in the film, while acting veteran Redgrave (76), the mother-in-law of Liam Neeson, will play the character in her later years.

Vanessa Redgrave signed her contract for the big-budget production last year

Chastain won international acclaim for her part in Zero Dark Thirty - in which she played the CIA agent who dedicated her career to relentlessly hunting Osama Bin Laden.

The 36-year-old has become one of Hollywood's leading ladies since her breakthrough part as a devoted wife in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, opposite Brad Pitt, in 2011.

It will be Chastain's second time shooting on Irish shores in less than three years.

In April 2013 she was based in Co Fermanagh working on forthcoming drama Miss Julie, based on the 1888 play by August Strindberg, with Dublin-born Colin Farrell.

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