Monday 23 October 2017

Jim Sheridan jumps at chance as Commitments offer soul mission

Ken Sweeney, Entertainment Editor

DIRECTOR Jim Sheridan has fulfilled a lifetime wish by directing The Commitments.

It was “all aboard the night-train” yesterday when the production featuring “the hardest working band in Ireland” came to Whelan's on Wexford Street.

But this is not a sequel to the iconic Irish movie, which was directed by Alan Parker in 1991.

Instead the 64-year-old is creating a new radio version of Roddy Doyle's hit novel for BBC Radio.

“Things usually come once in a lifetime and I wasn't really set up making films when the original Commitments was made so I jumped at the chance to finally do some Roddy Doyle,” Jim Sheridan told the Herald.

But Jim being Jim, this is a long way from the 1991 movie directed by Alan Parker.

Jim Sheridan talks to Mal Tuohy lead singer with the band The Riptide Movement in Whelans.
Jim Sheridan talks to Mal Tuohy lead singer with the band The Riptide Movement in Whelans.

‘Joey The Lips' is played by Gavin Friday, and instead of the actors recording their lines in BBC studios, the cast are in Whelan's, bringing the story to life in a real music venue.

“We got a really young up and coming cast and a great band.

“The energy coming out of them is incredible. We used Whelan's because a radio studio would have been so sterile,” said Sheridan.

However, the young players, including singer Mal Tuohy, whose band The Riptide Movement supply the tunes, were still in shock from a cameo the previous day by Jimmy Rabbitte senior himself, Hollywood star Colm Meaney.

“I only realised this week, I hadn't got anyone to play the A&R man Sean Hughes did in the movie, so I was watching the Late Late Show the other night, and there was Colm, so I rang him.

“We'd never worked together before. I was kind of nervous but nobody knows Roddy Doyle material better than Colm,” he said.

Producer Gemma McMullen revealed how when the BBC decided they wanted to do “a Dublin story in Dublin, they'd better get the best Dublin director of all time”.

“I jumped at it because it seemed like great fun and I had never done radio before,” said Sheridan.

”Being from Sheriff Street, I understand where it’s coming from and the music is great,” he added.

Gavin Friday revealed how he was bringing out “the sleazebag element” to veteran musician Joey the Lips, and admitted he was floored by the energy of the young cast.


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