Tuesday 15 October 2019

The many faces of Patrick Pearse on the big screen

Marcus Lamb as Patrick Pearse in the RTÉ drama 'Rebellion'.
Marcus Lamb as Patrick Pearse in the RTÉ drama 'Rebellion'.
Dave Herlihy as Patrick Pearse in an episode of the 'Young Indiana Jones Chronicles'
Eoin O Suilleabhain as Pearse in RTE's 'Insurrection'.
Arthur Shields (left) as Patrick Pearse.

MARCUS LAMB has won praise for his portrayal of Patrick Pearse in the RTÉ drama Rebellion. Lamb is the latest in a long line of at least a dozen men who have played Pearse on screen - and there are more to come.

The first to do so was a 1916 veteran himself. Arthur Shields was a leading Abbey actor who fought in the Metropole Hotel and the GPO during the Rising. A brother of the Hollywood star Barry Fitzgerald, he played Pearse in John Ford's 1936 film adaptation of Seán O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars.

RTÉ's contribution to the 50th anniversary celebration was a week-long series, Insurrection, which portrayed events as a contemporary news story in which Eoin Ó Suilleabháin played Pearse. Three years later a German production, Der Irische Freiheitskampf starred Paul Neuhaus as the rebel commander. John Fraser played the Irish leader in an ITV drama,'Would You Look at Them Smashing all Those Lovely Windows? (1970).

Others who played Pearse include Glenroe star Dave Herlihy (in a Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode which was set in Ireland), John Kenny (in Michael Collins), John Shevlin (Réabhlóid), and Frank McCusker (Rebel Heart).

There have been two TG4 series about the men who were executed, in which Pearse was played by Tadhg Murphy (Seachtar na Cásca, 2010) and Ciaran Reilly (Seachtar Dearmadta, 2013).

And a film, The Rising 1916, has cast a large number of actors, including Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Pearse. It plans to start shooting early in 2017.


Irish Independent

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