Cate, Kevin tipped for Actors Forum in 2015
Hollywood's brightest are being lined up for a biennial meeting of artistic minds in Dublin, writes Mark O'Regan
A galaxy of Hollywood's biggest movie stars -- including Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen and Kevin Spacey -- are in line to attend a World Actors Forum in Ireland next year, the Sunday Independent has learned.
Discussions are taking place on the possibility of the Gate Theatre hosting a second World Forum, "a Davos for the arts", in June 2015.
Gate director Michael Colgan said Dublin is ideally suited to host the event for a second time.
"We're looking for the acting equivalent of Bono to attend. The obvious person I'd like is Kevin Spacey, who has committed to something other than being a film star, and has another dimension to him," he told the Sunday Independent.
"We're also talking about people like Cate Blanchett, who has associations with the Sydney Theatre Company and which is the most green and environmentally friendly of its kind in the world.
"What I'm also hoping for is to get actors like Matt Damon, who has his own projects and has a story to tell.
"They're the type of people we're after; they must have other dimensions to their lives and have committed to something other than being a film star."
A weekend-long forum, which first took place in Ireland last summer, included a range of inspirational contributions, from actors such as Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Irons and Michael Gambon.
"It was extremely successful last year and my hunch is it will take place again in 2015. My other hunch is that it will have a higher profile and more actors will be involved. Dublin is between two great theatrical centres, the West End and Broadway, so I believe there is an opportunity to host a World Actors Forum here every two years." Mr Colgan said.
"But it will need to be developed and we'll need more actors involved in it."
Among the aims of the initiative is to provide Irish and international actors with a high-profile platform to discuss non-industry-related causes which affect or inspire them.
"The event is about doing something about the status of actors," he said.
"Actors come from a tradition where they've been told not to have opinions and just be quiet about things. That has changed now and actors are making a big difference -- they now have a power that they can unleash.
"The great example is Angelina Jolie when she came out and talked about the BRCA1 gene, which helped so many women around the world regarding breast cancer.
"Jeremy Irons is also terrific on the environment -- and he talked about that last year. Brendan Gleeson discussed what it's like to be an actor and he was so honest and so entertaining.
"It's an awful lot of work for the people in the Gate to take on, so I'll make a final decision on whether it will go ahead in June or July."
A discussion on the matter, chaired by Senator Fiach McConghail, was held at the Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle last October.
A spokeswoman from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht confirmed to the Sunday Independent that the option to stage the event again in 2015 "remains open".
"A final decision will be made later this year in light of resource and other issues," she said.
Last year's event was organised by the Gate Theatre and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, in partnership with the Arts Council, the Irish Film Board and Failte Ireland.
Meanwhile, actor Michael Fassbender will be leading the Irish challenge at this year's Academy Awards after landing his first Oscar nomination.
Fassbender, 36, made it to the Best Supporting Actor category for his part in 12 Years a Slave, where he plays the role of a brutal slave owner.
Meanwhile, the much praised Philomena has landed four nominations and also has an excellent chance of making it among the winners.
It's the true story of Irish woman Philomena Lee's odyssey to try and find out what happened to her son Anthony after 50 years of keeping his existence a secret.
The acclaimed Judi Dench has been given the nomination for Best Actress for her poignant performance as Lee -- but she will be competing against Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Amy Adams and Sandra Bullock.
The movie has also received nominations in the Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Score categories.
And only a matter of days after landing their Golden Globe victory, U2 have received their second-ever Oscar nomination, this time for Best Original Song, for their track Ordinary Love in Mandela: Long walk to Freedom.
U2 were previously nominated in 2003 for their song The Hands That Built America, which featured in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York.