Huston keen to make film about 'dysfunctional' Yeats and Maud
Published 02/06/2010 | 05:00
WITH her eyes glued to the pages in front of her, it was clear this lady was fascinated by what she was seeing.
To anyone silently studying in the reading room of the National Library yesterday, they may have thought the latest visitor to walk through its hallowed doors was vaguely familiar.
But this well-known face would have been happy to have gone unnoticed. It was only the presence of a swarm of photographers around her and the distinct air of Hollywood royalty that gave the game away.
Award-winning actress and director Anjelica Huston yesterday paid a visit to the large collection of work by poet and playwright WB Yeats held in the Dublin library.
She threw on smudge-proof white gloves, grabbed hold of her magnifying glass and got stuck into the Pial notebook, given to the famous writer by his muse Maud Gonne in Paris in 1908.
Joining her at the library was a star-struck Arts and Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin, but sadly she had to cut her encounter with the actress short. "I'm meeting with the Minister for Finance -- and if I don't talk to him, I get no money," she was overheard as saying to Huston, in reference to Monday's deadline for government departments to submit their budgets for next year.
In the rush, the American, who spent most of her childhood in Galway, didn't get the chance to talk more in-depth about Ireland's economic crisis to the minister.
"I think Ireland is actually bearing up very well," she said. "There's a lot of humour about the situation, which is more than I can say about my own country.
"Ireland has always been able to tuck in and take it on the chin, I have to say. Maybe it's just the history of the Irish -- they're a very pragmatic people and they've had to be. If they weren't, they simply wouldn't be able to exist."
As part of her visit to the library, the star also kick-started the month-long Summer's Wreath festival, an annual event to highlight Yeats's works at the National Library.
Huston has just finished filming a new comedy with stars Jack Black and Owen Wilson. She revealed her own desire to take part in a more serious role based on her favourite poet and his intense relationship with Gonne, revealed in the Pial notebook.
"I've always wanted to make a film of Yeats and Maud Gonne. I think it's about 20 years since I first had this idea, and I actually spoke to Daniel Day-Lewis about it -- it was right after he did 'My Left Foot'.
"But it was such a hard script to write because it's about a couple that have these imaginings together, but they don't really ever get together in the conventional sense.
"It doesn't really run along the lines of a classic Hollywood romance, but I don't think it needs to anymore ... it's dysfunctional, but there's a market for dysfunctional movies."
As part of the festival launch, Huston will take part in a special discussion about her love of Yeats tonight at 7.30pm to a packed crowd at the iconic library. Other events throughout the month include readings, lectures and performances, by singer Gavin Friday, newsreader Eileen Dunne and feminist Germaine Greer.