Wednesday 23 August 2017

How 'Mr Nice' got helping hand from IRA pretender

Rhys Ifans and Howard Marks at the 'Mr Nice' premiere in Dublin's Savoy cinema last night
Rhys Ifans and Howard Marks at the 'Mr Nice' premiere in Dublin's Savoy cinema last night

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Reporter

NOTORIOUS former drug smuggler Howard Marks has revealed he once enlisted an IRA man to help him with his illegal activities only to have the paramilitary organisation deny he was a member.

The 65-year-old one-time drug lord made the admission at the Irish premiere of 'Mr Nice', based on his autobiography, in which actor David Thewlis appears as an IRA man on the run helping Marks smuggle large shipments into Europe from Pakistan.

"It's based on fact because I did have assistance from a guy who claimed he was an IRA member.

"He was extraordinary, not least because I think he was the only person in history who the IRA denied was a member," Marks said.

'Harry Potter' actor Rhys Ifans plays Marks in the movie, which tells the story of how a Welsh Oxford graduate became the FBI's most wanted man.

Ifans said the first thing he said to Marks when they were introduced 14 years ago was 'can I play you in a film?'

"I guess I've spent the last 13 years preparing for that role," said Ifans, who is currently in Dublin shooting pirate film 'Neverland' with actress Anna Friel. Marks said he had been a regular visitor to Dublin over the years as his daughter, Francesca, had studied philosophy at Trinity College.

He claimed that neither the film nor his autobiography glamourised drugs.

"It's a cautionary tale," he said.

A guest on tonight's 'Late Late Show', Marks said he was hoping to bump into former US President Bill Clinton who had been spotted in Dublin recently.

"Bill never inhaled, but me, I never exhaled," he said.

Irish Independent

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