Monday 18 December 2017

Society: Ed the lure for Hollywood A-list

Danielle Ryan, Roads Entertainment, at the WIFT's event in Dublin.
Danielle Ryan, Roads Entertainment, at the WIFT's event in Dublin.
Carol Anne Leyden and Conall Quinn
Vicky Maughan and Lucy Nagle attend CA Design's birthday celebration
Barbara Keller with Sheila Grassick of Newtown Stud in Naas at Goffs
Henry Beeby, Eimear Mulhearn and Gerard O'Farrell at Goff's annual Orby sale. Photo: Sarah Farnsworth.
Barbara Keller with Sheila Grassick of Newtown Stud in Naas at Goffs' sale in Kildare. Photo: Sarah Farnsworth.
Tom Dunne has just written an autobiographical book.
Jenny McCarthy and Martin King at the World Mental Health Ball
Sarah Weldon, Chloe Weldon and Faye Moran at The World Mental Health Ball
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Hollywood A-listers are a curious breed. They inhabit an alternative universe filled with macro diets, skagillion dollar contracts and Giuliana Rancic's grimacing head.

But every so often they venture into our own little world - no small thanks to the good folk at Element Pictures who are a dab hand at enticing some of the Hollywood Pantheon to our shores.

Producer Ed Guiney has signed Oscar winner Kate Winslet, flame haired Hollywood sweetheart Emma Stone and wunderactor Olivia Coleman to feature in Irish co-production The Favourite.

The film will be directed by Yorgos Lanthimos - who is flavour of the month in La-La Land following the success of his film The Lobster at Cannes. The period drama has been written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara.

So is Ed excited to have such shiny Hollywood names attached to his latest movie?

"I am absolutely delighted we have such an amazing cast but having a brilliant script and a genius director certainly helps," he said.

There were lots of exciting movie makers knocking about Dublin the past week.

Catherine Hardwicke - who directed the first instalment in The Twilight Saga and Lady Gaga's music video 'Till it Happens to You' was over for Ireland's Women in Film and Television launch.

Hardwicke was full of vim and vigour and encouraged female filmmakers to gather the troops.

"It's time to make some noise. Come on! Your country knows how to get up in arms!" she yelled.

Her words were still ringing in everyone's ears on Wednesday night when ladies gathered in Dublin's O'Callaghan's Hotel to chat TV and movie magic over a glass or three of Prosecco.

Actress Ruth McGill, playwright Sonya Kelly and Danielle Ryan of Roads Entertainment all soaked up the atmosphere. Red Rock's Sarah Jane Seymour was feeling nervous ahead of her soap debut.

"My first episode goes out tonight which is exciting," she said.

Meanwhile, actress Kathy Rose O'Brien will appear in Nancy Harris' new musical Baddies in London.

"I'm playing a rather wonderful take on Cinderella," she said. "We're pushing Cinders to the edge."

Carol-Anne's Scandi style third birthday

By Bairbre Power

Carol-Anne Leyden celebrated the third birthday of her  business, CA Design with a party on Wednesday night at her new Dunville Avenue shop where she is bringing Scandinavian style to the D6 suburb.

Carol-Anne started the business online and amongst those toasting the success of her shop was her fiancé, playwright Conall Quinn.

One of her VBFs, knitwear designer, Lucy Nagle, was newly returned from New York Fashion Week and TV3's Laura Woods came with her handsome architect husband, Mark Agriho.

Stylist Ingrid Hoey told me she is now the brand ambassador for Melinda Maria Jewellery. This is the new LA brand that is proving popular at Arnotts.

Guests included interior designers Sinead Considine and Maoliosa Murray, Platinum Pilates instructor Victoria Maughan, Rob and Grainne Dever and hairdresser/neighbour, Jim Hatton.

A Goffs night of seafood and champers

By Bairbre Power

Henry Beeby was in exuberant form in the Jaguar Pavilion at Goffs on Tuesday night after the end of the first day of the annual Orby Sale.

Chief executive Henry of the thoroughbred auction house had seen more than 200 yearlings go under the hammer with one filly fetching a staggering €1.7m.

News of the sale travelled swiftly in horsey circles all over the world. The young horse comes from good stock - her father is the never beaten champion, Frankel and mother is Alexander Goldrun and her breeder the hotelier, Noel O'Callaghan.

The party in the pavilion was hosted by Gerard O'Farrell, the MD of Jaguar Ireland and more than 150 vendors, buyers and agents wrapped up the day with champagne and seafood. Gerard was excited by the sale for a different reason - he had managed to bring a newly designed Jaguar XF car to the sale - the only one available in the country.

He was joined by colleagues Melanie McCourt and Doug McCoy who are busy with their other brand, Land Rover Ireland, a sponsor of the Rugby World Cup.

Chairperson of Goffs and breeder Eimear Mulhern told me the Irish thoroughbred industry is growing in stature worldwide.

Of the 1,300 people who attended the two-day sale, more than 25 countries were represented and every hotel in the county was booked out.

Enjoying the party on Tuesday were trainer Jessica Harrington and her jockey daughter Katie; bloodstock agents Peter and Ross Doyle, and Harry Herbert from Highclere Castle - the telly home of Downton Abbey.

I also saw breeder Sheila Grassick, Hubie de Burgh and his daughter Laragh, Jake Warren (whose father, John, is the Queen of England's racing advisor), UK trainer Hugo Palmer who told me he was still on a high having trained his first classic winner, Covert Love, which took first prize in the Irish Oaks this summer. He bought Covert Love at Goffs in 2013.

MV Magnier from Coolmore attended as did Irish agent Mick Flanagan and his wife Nikki McDowell from the well known Dublin jeweller family.

Tell-all tales from tour will be a page-turner

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Broadcaster Tom Dunne should know better than divulging murky secrets from the back of a tour bus.

But the musician and radio host is throwing caution to the wind, and is writing a biographical book about racing around the States with music legend Warren Zevon who was pals with Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young.

"It was insane - the most bizarre experience of my life," said Dunne. "Our tour bus went on fire, the driver had been friends with Elvis, we were all crammed into bunk beds - it was intense."

Meanwhile, Dunne's other half Audrey McDonald's is delighted her new restaurant The Cookbook Cafe is doing a roaring trade.

The cafe is a media hotspot with the likes of Pat Kenny, and Ian Dempsey often swinging by.

"She's rushed off her feet," Dunne said, who was recovering from treatment at Optilase.

"So I am writing the book while looking after screaming kids and she's in the restaurant keeping everything running smoothly."

Indian summer on Suesey Street

By Bairbre Power

Balmy Indian summer conditions saw us eating outdoors on the heated terrace of Suesey Street, the stylish eatery previously known as Brasserie le Pont which has been totally revamped and is attracting lots of the fashion crowd to Fitzwilliam Place.

I can't remember the last time I was lucky enough to dine al fresco in Dublin in October but the sunshine was strong and so was the food on the new supper menu.

Judging by the number of other guests, word about this little oasis has really got out and I spied lots of Theatre Festival fans and some fashionistas plotting outfits for the ball season which is upon us.

O'Donnell O'Neill did the chic interiors at Suesey Street and also at 37 Dawson Street which is where I found myself before the World Mental Health Ball in aid of charity, Walk in my Shoes at the Mansion House.

Sharon Bannerton and Niall O'Farrell attended and Martin King and his wife, Jenny were on MC duty, watched by TV3 boss, Andrew Hanlon. A new TV duo perhaps?

Red card for Colgan at Abbey first night 

By Kirsty Blake Knox

I wouldn't do this for just anybody," Gate director Michael Colgan said at the opening of Oedipus at the Abbey Theatre.

"Missing the Man United vs Wolfsburg match is a big deal. I only make a sacrifice of this scale and magnitude for someone special - like Wayne."

The first night of Wayne Jordan's re-imagining of the Sophocles classic attracted quite the crowd. Broadcaster Joe Duffy looked dashing in a smart suit and colourful cravat. His radio show Liveline is currently being made into a TV series.

"It's going well," Duffy said. "They're all over in the States while I'm stuck in Cabra."

Director of the Abbey Fiach Mac Conghail darted about after his two years of preparation came to life.

"Watching it feels like a cross between a mass and a therapy session."

Class act Olivia O'Leary, Jennifer Johnston and the Labour leader and Tánaiste Joan Burton were the last to take to seats.

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