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Renowned director Jim Sheridan eyes Mr Moonlight murder for documentary film


Director Jim Sheridan. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Director Jim Sheridan. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Director Jim Sheridan. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Oscar-nominated film director Jim Sheridan attended the Mr Moonlight murder trial and has expressed interest in turning the story into a documentary film.

The trial attracted unprecedented interest - with evidence dealing with sex, love, rivalry and land ownership - and now could make it to the big screen.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Sheridan said: "I was there in the court a few times", citing "curiosity" as his main impulse. He said: "I didn't really want to pursue the family because I know everyone will be pursuing them but I think it would make a very interesting documentary."

Mr Sheridan directed the classic film The Field, which has been noted for its similarities. He said: "If the family approach me to see if I could do anything on it, then I would."

On the parallels with his own Oscar-nominated work he said: "I mean it is The Field. It reminded me of it. That's why, subconsciously, I went along to have a look. Land, the whole thing, it's all there. It is very like it."

Patrick Quirke received a life sentence earlier this month for murdering Bobby Ryan, the DJ known as Mr Moonlight.

Describing how Patrick Quirke  seemed to him to be an “isolated” character, Mr Sheridan said the fallout in the tight-knit Tipperary community must be immense.

“The whole thing, it’s all so fraught with tension and anger, and to step in the middle of that would be hard. There are so many people involved; my heart goes out to them. It’s a tragic story.”

The son of John B Keane, Billy Keane, has already said that the Tipperary murder trial could have been named The Field II.

“My dad John B Keane wrote The Field back in 1965 as a warning over the ‘unappeasable greed for land’.

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“The trial of Patrick Quirke had much in common with both the play and the subsequent movie.”

Netflix spent €13.5bn on original content in 2019 and market analysts report that Netflix’s content spending could hit a record €16bn in 2020.

The company has produced several successful true crime films recently and could potentially show an interest in telling the story of the Tipperary murder.

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