Michael Flatley’s homage to golden era of Hollywood gets its first airing at French film festival after production and pandemic-related delays
Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley admitted he was “over the moon” after clinching best actor honours at the Monaco film festival where his spy thriller Blackbird received its debut after production and pandemic-related delays.
Blackbird was selected to get its first airing at the Monaco Streaming Film Festival – and its star clinched prestigious best actor honours.
The Chicago-born dancer – who leapt to global stardom first with Riverdance and then with Lord of the Dance – said he wanted the Caribbean-based film to be his personal homage to old Hollywood and the golden era of thrillers.
Starring alongside Flatley in the feature film are Irish actor Patrick Bergin, who starred in 1991 thriller Sleeping With The Enemy, and Eric Roberts from 2010 hit action film The Expendables.
Blackbird also stars Ian Beattie, Rachel Warren, Nicole Evans and Serhat Metin.
“I am absolutely over the moon with the best actor award. I wanted to make a modern movie reminiscent of old Hollywood,” Flatley explained.
“The classics were always entertaining without being excessively violent or complicated.
“We shot the movie in Barbados, Ireland and London, capturing some of the most cinematically picturesque locations on film, all of which have a special place in my heart.
“I’m so relieved we are finally there after all the extra filming and then the Covid-19 pandemic delays.”
The dancer now divides his time between his villa in the hills overlooking Monaco, in the south of France, and his Cork estate, Castlehyde.
His Castlehyde property – located on the banks of the River Blackwater near Fermoy – was virtually derelict when it was purchased for €3m in 2001. The 18th-century property underwent a €27m refurbishment.
Flatley had considered selling the estate but decided to take it off the market after saying he was too emotionally attached to the property which hosted his 2006 wedding to Niamh O’Brien.
He also owns a property in Barbados, where Blackbird was filmed.
Meanwhile, tomorrow evening Mr Flatley will be honoured in Monaco for his work in supporting charities that help in the fight against cancer and homelessness.
Prince Albert of Monaco will present Flatley with the prestigious CC Forum award for outstanding contribution to global humanitarian causes.
It is the second major honour he has received in Monaco having been honoured at the Red Cross gala in 2003 by Albert’s father, the late Prince Rainier.
“I’m honoured to be showing Blackbird at the inaugural Monaco Streaming Film Festival,” Flatley said. “It’s an innovative venture and opens the doors globally to a rapidly evolving digital marketplace.
“It is really good news.”
The film was written and financed by the multi-millionaire with scenes shot on location four years ago.
It revolves around the story of a retired intelligence operative who is trying to live a quiet life, running a hotel in Barbados.
However, the former agent finds himself dragged back into his old life in a bid to help a friend.
Monaco Streaming Film Festival founder Tony Davis told Variety it was an honour to screen Blackbird at the event.
“Michael Flatley’s debut feature film is such a pleasant surprise – he brings his renowned stage presence and energy, which we have all experienced over the past 25 years, to the big screen in a gripping romantic thriller,” he said.
“Blackbird is beautifully filmed in stunning locations, and a brilliant supporting cast help Flatley deliver something his legions of fans all over the world are going to love.”