Wednesday 21 March 2018

Director Jim Sheridan taking part in Innocence Project

Film Director Jim Sheridan at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin
Film Director Jim Sheridan at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin
Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

Ian Bailey, who was twice arrested in relation to the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, should be given the assumption of innocence until proven guilty, according to film director Jim Sheridan.

The 66-year-old shook his head as he discussed the recent case Bailey went through in the High Court, only to be told upon its conclusion that many of the claims he made were "statute barred".

Sheridan holds a strong sense of justice and innocence, both are prominent themes in many of his Oscar-nominated movies.

He was speaking about the topic ahead of his appearance at the Irish Innocence Project in Griffith College, Dublin tonight, where his movie 'In The Name of the Father', about Gerry Conlon and the Guildford Four, will be shown.

"To be fair, and we are talking about the Innocence Project - and a lot of people hate that man (Bailey). And, I have no flag to hold for him, well surely there is a situation where it is innocent until proven guilty," he said in Windmill Lane studios, where he is in post-production works on his latest film 'The Secret Scripture'.

The father-of-three is a six-time Academy Award nominee and is hailed by his peers as a "master storyteller".

The legal system is something he became familiar with after he told the story of Gerry Conlon's wrongful internment in an English prison.

Gerry passed away last year and his first anniversary occurred last week.

"Poor old Gerry," Jim said.

"He got caught up in that horrible thing where he was arrested for something he didn't do.

"But something good came out of it, like his daughter is a human rights lawyer and we got to know Gareth Peirce, a great human rights lawyer."

Ms Peirce spoke at the conference last night, and Jim declares that anything she is involved with, "I'd be there in a heartbeat".

"I am just really happy to be there to try and support it," he added.

The director of 'The Field' has collaborated with his three daughters - Kirsten, Tess and Naomi - on a number of projects, including the poignant film 'In America'.

His three girls are now based in the States and he said his wife of four decades, Fran, often says: "'Why don't we just up sticks and go?' It's kind of like 'enough is enough'," he said.

But Jim, who was born and raised in Sheriff Street, is Dublin through and through.

"I don't know (about going). I'm not a quitter. I find Dublin great now, I found it great during the Celtic Tiger, I find it great all the time."

So what does the man who has conquered his chosen field want to do next? He certainly doesn't want to quit and said he "doesn't even think about that".

"I would like to find a story with my brother Peter (the playwright) so we could work on it together.

"I like the story about Jim Swire and Lockerbie," he adds.

Jim also intends to make a film about the Irish banking crisis, but is still looking for a way to tell it.

His pride in his home town and country has never been stronger as the industry here continues to thrive.

Two young Irish actors - Aidan Turner and Jack Reynor - both play roles in his new movie 'The Secret Scripture'.

"I think the Irish actors of this generation are the best actors of any generation by a mile," he added. "I think Jamie Dornan is very good. There is him and Aidan Turner, Jack Reynor and Colin (Farrell), obviously.

"There is a huge reservoir of talent here."

Irish Independent

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