Jordan, Neil 1950–

views updated May 29 2018

Jordan, Neil 1950–

(Neil Patrick Jordan)

PERSONAL: Born February 25, 1950 (some sources say 1951), in County Sligo, Ireland; son of Michael (an educator) and Angela (a painter; maiden name, O'Brien) Jordan; married Vivienne Shields (divorced); married Brenda Rawn, June 30, 2004; children: Anna, Sarah (with Shields); Ben (with Mary O'Donoghue); Dashiel, Daniel (with Rawn). Education: University College (Dublin, Ireland), B.A., 1968.

ADDRESSES: Home—Dublin, Ireland. Office—c/o Author Mail, Bloomsbury, 175 Fifth Ave., Ste. 300, New York, NY 10010.

CAREER: Film director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, and short story writer. Director of We're No Angels, Paramount, 1989, and Not I (short film), Blue Angels Films, 2000. Formerly associated with a theater company in Dublin, Ireland; cofounder, administrator, and chair of the board of Irish Writers Cooperative, 1974; creative adviser for John Boorman's film Excalibur, 1981; worked variously as a laborer, teacher, and saxophonist.

AWARDS, HONORS: Art Council bursary, 1976; Guardian Fiction Prize, 1979, for Night in Tunisia and Other Stories; Evening Standard's most promising newcomer award, 1982, and Best First Feature Film Award from the Durban International Film Festival, 1983, both for Angel; Sunday Independent Arts Award—Cinema, 1984; named best director by the film section of British Critics Circle, 1984, London Critics Circle Award, Fantasy Film Festival Award, and Critics Prize from the Fantasporto Fantasy Festival, all for The Company of Wolves; Golden Scroll from the Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Films for Outstanding Achievement, 1985; Golden Globe, Los Angeles Critics Circle Award, New York Film Critics Award, London Critics Circle Award, and Balladolid Award, all 1986, for Mona Lisa; People of the Year Award (Ireland), 1986; Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, 1992, for The Crying Game; Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival, 1996, for Michael Collins; best adapted screenplay, British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, 2000, for The End of the Affair; honorary doctorate, Queen's University (Belfast, Northern Ireland), 2001.



The Past, Braziller (New York, NY), 1980.

The Dream of a Beast (also see below), Chatto & Windus (London, England), 1983, Random House (New York, NY), 1989.

Sunrise with Sea Monster, Chatto & Windus (London, England), 1994, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2004, published as Nightlines, Random House (New York, NY), 1995.

Shade, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2004.


Night in Tunisia and Other Stories (also see below), Co-op Books (Dublin, Ireland), 1976, Braziller (New York, NY), 1980, published as Night in Tunisia: Stories, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2004.

A Neil Jordan Reader (contains "Night in Tunisia and Other Stories," "The Dream of a Beast," and "The Crying Game"; also see below), Vintage Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Collected Fiction (contains "Night in Tunisia and Other Stories," "The Dream of a Beast," and "The Past"), Vintage (London, England), 1997.

Author of the stories "A Bus, a Bridge, a Beach" and "The Old-Fashioned Lift," both published in Paddy No More, Longship Press (Nantucket, MA), 1978; and "The Artist" and "The Photographer," both published in New Writing and Writers 16, Humanities (Atlantic Highlands, NJ), 1979.


Traveller, An Chomhaírle Ealaíon, 1981.

(And director) Angel, Motion Picture Co., 1982, released as Danny Boy, Triumph Films, 1984.

(And director) The Company of Wolves (adapted from a story by Angela Carter), Cannon Group, 1984, released in the United States, 1985.

(With David Leland; and director) Mona Lisa, Handmade Films, Ltd., 1986, released in book form, Faber & Faber (London, England), 1986.

(And director) High Spirits, Palace Pictures/Tri-Star, 1987, Faber and Faber (London, England), 1989.

(And director) The Miracle, Palace Pictures, 1991.

(And director) The Crying Game, Miramax Films, 1992, released in book form, Vintage (London, England), 1993.

(And director) Interview with the Vampire (screenplay uncredited; adapted from the novel by Anne Rice), Geffen Pictures, 1994.

(And director) Michael Collins, Warner Bros., 1996, released in book form, Plume (London, England), 1996.

(With Patrick McCabe; and director) The Butcher Boy, Warner Bros., 1998.

(And director) The End of the Affair (adapted from the Graham Greene novel), Columbia, 1999.

(With Bruce Robinson; and director) In Dreams, DreamWorks, 1999.

(And director) The Good Thief (adapted from the film Bob le flambeau), Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2002.

(And director) Breakfast on Pluto, Sony Pictures, 2005.


Also author of plays and television scripts. Contributor of poetry to periodicals.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Borgia, for Myriad Pictures; The Brave One, for Warner Bros.

SIDELIGHTS: Neil Jordan is widely regarded as one of the most imaginative and talented of a new generation of Irish writers. Although he is best known for his screenwriting and directing talents—demonstrated in such highly acclaimed films as Mona Lisa and The Crying Game—Jordan has also attracted substantial praise as a fiction writer. After producing an award-winning story collection at the age of twenty-five, Jordan wrote novels before turning to filmmaking. Acknowledging that his books are influenced by the works of early twentieth-century Irish writers William Butler Yeats and James Joyce, Jordan cites filmmakers Luis Bunuel and Federico Fellini as inspirations for his movies. Combining these influences, he has developed a singular style that consistently prompts critics to hail his work as lyrical, surrealistic, sometimes baffling, and often disturbing.

Jordan first demonstrated his creative talents with his collection Night in Tunisia and Other Stories, winner of the 1979 Guardian Fiction Prize. Critics compared the work, which is set in Ireland and centers on characters who suffer from spiritual numbness, to Joyce's short story collection Dubliners. "The people in Night in Tunisia are often 'suspended,' suffering a kind of detachment from the world and, more significantly, from themselves," explained Terence Winch, reviewing Jordan's work in the Washington Post Book World. Filled with what Winch called "insistent sexuality" heightened by a backdrop of the ceaseless surge of the ocean, the collection depicts such situations as two boys discovering homosexual love; a bored house-maker who, searching for spiritual awakening, wanders into the sea; a laborer who kills himself after first pondering his attraction to the emotionless quality of mud and stone; and, in the book's title story, a young man who works out his frustrations through playing the saxophone.

Jordan again won the favor of critics with his subsequent offering, The Past, a "rich, deeply textured first novel by an extraordinary new writer," stated Roger Dionne in the Los Angeles Times. Also set in Ireland, The Past introduces a young, nameless narrator who, upon discovering some picture postcards dating from 1914, sets out to find the truth of his origins. Through talking with his mother's old friend Lili, among others, and traveling to pertinent locations in Ireland, the narrator discovers that his mother Rene was born out of wedlock to a politically active Irish actress. Rene herself eventually became an actress and a model. It was in the latter capacity that she met James and Luke Vance, a father-and-son team of photographers. The narrator deduces that one of the Vances was his father, but, due to unreliable recollections from Lili and Father Beausang, an elderly priest who knew the Vances, he has difficulty discovering which one. Depicting significant scenes from the past through flashbacks and scattered remembrances, Jordan's novel demonstrates how the past intricately entwines with the present. Calling Jordan "one of the most original talents to emerge in the last decade," Francis King, writing in the Spectator, found The Past "boldly imagined [and] beautifully written" with prose that "has a splendid elasticity and vigour." Times Literary Supplement critic Paul Taylor judged Jordan's novel "exquisite" and "masterly."

Jordan's second novel, The Dream of a Beast, was published in 1983. Set in Dublin, the novel focuses on a surrealistic metaphor and depicts another unnamed narrator who, sickened by his environment and a dull, meaningless life, slowly transforms into a mysterious creature that he imagined for an advertising campaign. Melding into his suburban surroundings, which also become strangely disfigured in the smoldering heat of an unbearable summer, the metamorphosing narrator represents man's desire to return to a more humanized state of heightened awareness; he ventures back to a sort of childlike consciousness, wherein colors, textures, and sounds evoke intense feelings and thoughts. This reawakening caused by the narrator's transformation eventually brings him closer to his wife and child, from whom he had previously alienated himself. In the Spectator, Lewis Jones termed the book a "highly poetic fantasy…. It's certainly beautifully written."

Although his books were enjoying critical success, Jordan became increasingly interested in film. While supporting himself through writing and playing saxophone in a band, Jordan also worked as a creative consultant for screenwriter and director John Boorman's 1981 film Excalibur. Later, Jordan wrote a documentary film for television concerning his experience working with Boorman. Unsatisfied with simply writing scripts, Jordan decided to both write and direct his next screen effort. In an interview with CA, he stated: "I got into film the way most writers do, out of a sense of dissatisfaction about the way the work was being handled by others. I decided to make films myself because I found that form of storytelling exciting and found that, to realize it correctly, I would have to direct my own work. I think it's comparable for many writers: many playwrights, many novelists, many screenwriters who get seriously interested in film as a medium of expression end up directing."

Jordan's directorial debut was the 1982 film Angel, released two years later in the United States as Danny Boy. Set in contemporary Northern Ireland where civil unrest prevails, Danny Boy depicts localized violence in the manner of bleak and ominous film noir. The picture introduces Danny, a jazz saxophone player who, after spending time in a bar and making love to a mute girl, witnesses a double murder. Once he recovers from the shock, Danny tracks down the murderers in order to kill them. Eventually, Danny's obsession with revenge not only takes him away from his music but gradually destroys him, his violent pilgrimage creating psychological chaos. Like most reviewers of Jordan's work, Los Angeles Times writer Michael Wilmington commended the filmmaker for his singular style. "There's bloody magic afoot in … Danny Boy," observed the critic, "alchemy that sets it apart from the opening frames. The colors are a bit more scintillating than usual; the angles skewed; the camera mobile; the atmosphere pungent and rare."

With his next film, The Company of Wolves, Jordan "once again orchestrated a piece of utter originality," according to John Coleman in a critique for the New Statesman. Strewn with Jordan's typically dreamlike imagery and surrealistic tone, the film—based on a story by British writer Angela Carter—recreates the well-known fable of "Little Red Riding Hood." The action of the movie takes place inside the fevered and continuous dreams of an adolescent girl, Rosaleen, as she wanders through dense woods, repeatedly meeting up with men who transform into werewolves before her.

Creating what reviewers unanimously dubbed an artistic thriller, Jordan scored a critical success in 1986 with Mona Lisa, which he cowrote with David Leland. When it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, Mona Lisa immediately generated widespread interest. Set in what Anna Kythreotis of the London Times described as "a brilliantly evoked, almost surreal … London of plush hotels, strip joints and streetwalkers," the film features Bob Hoskins as a good-hearted, though sometimes ill-tempered, ex-convict named George. George becomes a chauffeur for Simone, an elegant high-priced prostitute who previously practiced her profession in the often brutal red-light districts of London. Their relationship starts out stormy, but the two slowly earn each other's trust. George begins to refer to her as a "lady" and naively falls deeply in love with her; she becomes his "Mona Lisa," an object of mysteriously intriguing though unattainable love. When Simone realizes that George truly intends to protect her, she enlists him to find a teen-aged heroin-addicted streetwalker named Cathy, who was a former colleague of Simone's. Risking his life in the seamier sides of London, George finally finds Cathy and rescues her from the hands of his own corrupted boss, only to discover that Simone and Cathy are lovers.

"With astonishing elegance and skill, director Neil Jordan … weaves a touching, terrifying tale that mates the setting of London's sleazy underworld with a story of unrequited romance," wrote Lawrence O'Toole, reviewing Mona Lisa in Maclean's. The film drew further praise on many accounts. John Simon, writing in the National Review, for example, thought that "in the exploration of the worlds of sexual degradation … Jordan comes up with some memorable images without much explicit detail, the horror made ineffable by being merely suggested." Commenting on the film's overall achievement, the reviewer concluded that Mona Lisa "is one of the painfully few movies these days whose appeal is to an adult audience…. [It] strives to be a work of art."

Intent on extending his film repertoire across various cinematic genres, Jordan tried his hand at directing comedy with his 1988 film High Spirits. Returning to an Irish setting, Jordan depicts the Castle Plunkett, a dilapidated mansion whose owner, in an effort to save his home from creditors, promotes the place as a "haunted hotel" to attract American tourists. The film was generally criticized for trying to cater—with special effects and exaggerated humor—to American audiences. Declaring that Jordan "was much more at home in the dark, colloquial world of Mona Lisa … than he is in this one," New York Times writer Janet Maslin denounced High Spirits for being "directed as broad, noisy slapstick."

Jordan returned to more serious drama in 1992 with The Crying Game, which he wrote and directed. A complex story involving an Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorist who becomes romantically involved with the fiancée of a British soldier he once held prisoner, The Crying Game "demolishes sexual and racial stereotypes," according to Jay Carr, writing in the Boston Globe. Vincent Canby, reviewing the film for the New York Times, credited Jordan with writing an "efficient and ingenious" script and creating an "elegant" film. "When the film's subplots, all of which are germane, are stripped away," Canby summarized, "The Crying Game becomes a tale of a love that couldn't be but proudly is." Kenneth Turan wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "Suspenseful and emotionally complex, skillfully mixing politics with affairs of the heart, The Crying Game is something unexpected, a challenging new way to tell a very old story." Jordan's screenplay for The Crying Game earned him an Academy Award.

His next Hollywood project was the highly successful film adaptation of Anne Rice's novel Interview with the Vampire; Jordan worked on the uncredited screenplay and directed the film. According to Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune, "the occasionally gory film is really quite good, taking vampires seriously and depicting their underground world with some stunning imagery."

After completing Interview with the Vampire, Jordan returned to writing and produced another novel. He discussed the differences between working in film and writing fiction with Sean Abbot, a contributor to At Random. Abbot quoted Jordan as saying: "With a film you write a script and someone says, 'This is good, I would like to do it,' and then an actor gets excited about it, and soon enough you get all the people you've worked with before around you, and there's all this impetus to get the thing made and to finish it, whereas with the novel, there's only yourself; you have nothing to deal with except your own emotions. You have to dredge parts of yourself to the surface." He described this process as "emotionally and mentally exhausting" and concluded: "I do think writing prose is one of the hardest things there is to do. Any writer who has written serious fiction and also written screenplays or written for the theatre will tell you that."

Book reviewers celebrated Jordan's return to the novel. Sunrise with Sea Monster, published in the United States as Nightlines, was greeted with enthusiastic reviews. The plot embraces many elements common to Jordan's work, including a tangled love story and a background of Irish politics. The narrative begins during the Spanish Civil War. The protagonist, a young Irishman named Donal Gore, has been captured during the fighting and is in prison, awaiting execution. In his cell, he recalls his childhood, his uncommunicative father, and his love affair with his teacher—a woman his widowed father eventually married. The "night-lines" of the title refer to the fishing lines he and his father routinely set in the evenings, a ritual that provided the only time Donal felt at peace with his father.

As the novel progresses, Donal is released from prison and returns home to find his father speechless and paralyzed by a stroke. Donal resumes his love affair with his stepmother and "for a while they live, the three of them, in a strange idyll that Jordan's canted vision and touch of quicksilver manage to extract from its melodramatic possibilities," wrote Richard Eder in the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Eder compared Nightlines to The Crying Game, finding that both narratives range "between the large-scale gestures of politics and the compacted incandescence of the personal."

Jordan's style in Nightlines is "direct, sparse and cool, with none of the lushness of what is still surely Jordan's masterpiece, The Dream of a Beast," commented John Banville in the London Observer. "However, despite the low-key tone of the book, the intense, almost religious conclusion lifts everything on to a strangely transcendent level." Michael Kerrigan observed in the Times Literary Supplement, "the sea is a constant presence here." Kerrigan went on to explain: "Every page seems permeated by the drear, muddy chill of the Irish Sea by the family home at Bray. Described in the bleakest of terms, it is none the less a source of comfort." Despite the sea's promise of insularity, Kerrigan suggested, Jordan's novel implies that "to turn away from the world is merely to confront more disturbing problems within."

Jordan once again received critical acclaim for his film Michael Collins, a biography of the Irish guerilla leader of the IRA who fought during the Irish Civil War. Collins was a notorious figure of controversy, as he was considered a terrorist and a murderer to at least as many who considered him a liberator. The film allows viewers to see a parallel between the Irish situation of years gone by to more recent political situations around the globe. "I generally don't like biopics, if there is such a genre," Jordan told Bernard Weintraub in an interview for the New York Times. "But I just felt that in the course of his life you can tell the story of all the events that went into the shape of the country I live in."

The Good Thief, a caper film also written and directed by Jordan, was inspired by French New Wave films of the 1950s and 1960s, most notably Bob le flambeur. The Good Thief concerns a gang of misfits, hovering on the fringes of society in the French Riviera, who stage a heist to lift some priceless art from a casino. Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt described the film as "a dark, dreamy fantasy of bad guys."

Jordan's novel Shade explores yet again "characters consumed by loneliness and isolation, and whose sexual desires intertwine with social and political [threats] to complicate notions of identity," wrote Erin Haddad-Null in the Irish Literary Supplement. Shade is a ghost story narrated by the murdered former silent film star Nina Hardy, whose never-found body was dumped in a septic tank. After her death, she becomes a witness to her own life as she becomes the ghost that haunted her own childhood. The story concerns Nina and her three childhood friends: her half-brother Gregory, her best friend Janie, and Janie's brother George, who eventually kills her. For Nina, and the reader as well, time is fluid. The story ranges freely from the 1950s, when Nina was killed, back to the turn of the century. As the two boys prepare to go off to battle in World War I, Nina is tormented by her attraction to both of them. Through it all, the ghosts of Ireland's past—from Celtic legends to Yeats—haunt the text. Haddad-Null concluded that though the story "is threaded through with a heavy sense of solitude and mourning for the past" it "ultimately offers hope and tenderness … by using its return to the past as a means of seeking peace and resolution." Praising the novel in People, Steve Dougherty wrote that Jordan's "sentences surge with a rhythm as irresistible as the tidal currents of the River Boyne."

Jordan returned to the theme of gender-bending in the film Breakfast on Pluto, which he directed and adapted from the novel by Patrick McCabe. Patrick Murphy is an Irish drag queen growing up in the early 1970s, an era in which accepting one's homosexuality often meant facing ridicule or worse. Patrick braves his way through the harsh environment and, having been abandoned by his mother at a young age, tries to find someone to love—preferably his mother. Though he finds himself intermittently attached to various men, including a psychopath and a magician, ultimately he is alone, even as he gets caught up in the violence of the IRA. Many reviewers noted the plot similarities to The Crying Game, and many also thought Breakfast on Pluto lacked the narrative momentum of that previous film. "Although it may have worked in book form," wrote Michael Rechtshaffen in the Hollywood Reporter, "the juxtaposition of Kitten's escapades against a bloodily tumultuous period in Irish history never convincingly jibe onscreen, with the result feeling like a forced conceit rather than an inspired concept." But Steven Holden, writing in the New York Times, appreciated Patrick's "fiercely willed, stubbornly held innocence that in the end stands as its own reward."



Rogers, Lori, Feminine Nation: Performance, Gender, and Resistance in the Works of John McGahern and Neil Jordan, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1998.


America, October 26, 1996, Terry Golway, review of Michael Collins, p. 6.

At Random, fall, 1995, Sean Abbot, interview with Neil Jordan, pp. 56-58.

Boston Globe, December 18, 1992, Jay Carr, review of The Crying Game, p. 51.

Chicago Tribune, November 6, 1994, Gene Siskel, review of Interview with a Vampire, section 13, p. 10.

Commonweal, July 11, 1986, Tom O'Brien, review of Mona Lisa, p. 405.

Entertainment Weekly, November 25, 2005, Owen Gleiberman, review of Breakfast on Pluto, p. 78.

Hollywood Reporter, September 9, 2002, Kirk Honeycutt, review of The Good Thief, p. 6; September 19, 2005, Michael Rechtshaffen, review of Breakfast on Pluto, p. 26.

Irish Literary Supplement, spring, 2005, Erin Haddad-Null, review of Shade, p. 25.

Irish University Review, autumn-winter, 2004, Hedwig Schwall, review of Shade, p. 445.

Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1980, Roger Dionne, review of The Past; April 19, 1985, Michael Wilmington, review of Danny Boy; November 25, 1992, Kenneth Turan, review of The Crying Game, p. F1.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 17, 1995, Richard Eder, review of Nightlines, pp. 3, 10.

Maclean's, July 21, 1986, Lawrence O'Toole, review of Mona Lisa.

National Catholic Reporter, April 14, 2000, Robert E. Lauder, review of The End of the Affair, p. 21.

National Review, July 18, 1986, John Simon, review of Mona Lisa.

New Statesman, September 21, 1984, John Coleman, review of The Company of Wolves.

New York Times, May 18, 1984, Janet Maslin, review of Danny Boy, p. C11; April 19, 1985, Vincent Canby, review of The Company of Wolves, p. C8; June 13, 1986, Lawrence Van Gelder, review of Mona Lisa, p. C8, and Vincent Canby, review of Mona Lisa, p. C23; November 18, 1988, Janet Maslin, review of High Spirits, p. B12; October 14, 1990, Fintan O'Toole, "Neil Jordan Gets Back to Making Home Movies," p. H18; July 3, 1991, Vincent Canby, review of The Miracle, p. C12; August 2, 1991, Caryn James, review of The Miracle, p. C11; September 26, 1992, Vincent Canby, review of The Crying Game, p. A12; December 4, 1992, Janet Maslin, review of The Crying Game, p. C3; January 19, 1993, Bernard Weintraub, "The Crying Game: Healing Powers from Making a Successful Movie," p. C13; October 28, 1993, Janet Maslin, "Meditation on Vampires, by Way of John Milton: Neil Jordan to Direct Interview with a Vampire," p. C15; November 11, 1994, Janet Maslin, review of Interview with a Vampire, p. C1; November 13, 1994, Caryn James, "In Search of the Man within the Monster," p. H1; June 2, 1995, review of Interview with a Vampire, p. B8; October 9, 1996, Bernard Weinraub, "An Irish Legend's Life and Mysterious Death"; November 16, 2005, Stephen Holden, review of Breakfast on Pluto.

New York Times Magazine, January 9, 1994, Lois Gould, interview with Neil Jordan, p. 22.

Observer (London, England), January 8, 1995, John Banville, review of Sunrise with Sea Monster, p. 19.

People, November 15, 2004, Steve Dougherty, review of Shade, p. 47.

Spectator, November 8, 1980, Francis King, review of The Past; January 7, 1984, Lewis Jones, review of The Dream of a Beast.

Times (London, England), September 6, 1986, Anna Kythreotis, review of Mona Lisa.

Times Literary Supplement, November 14, 1980, Paul Taylor, review of The Past; January 13, 1995, Michael Kerrigan, review of Sunrise with Sea Monster, p. 21.

Washington Post Book World, April 20, 1980, Terence Winch, review of Night in Tunisia and Other Stories.


The Official Neil Jordan Web site, (April 4, 2006).

Jordan, Neil

views updated May 23 2018


Nationality: Irish. Born: Sligo County, Ireland, 25 February 1950. Education: Read History and literature at University College, Dublin. Career: Formed Irish Writers' Co-op, 1974; had his first collection of short stories, Night in Tunisia, published, 1976; worked as a "creative associate" on John Boorman's Excalibur, in fringe theatre, and as a writer, before making his directorial debut with Angel, 1982; made his first American film, High Spirits, 1988; directed music videos for The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. Awards: Guardian Prize for fiction, for A Night in Tunisia, 1979; London Critics Circle Best Film and Best Director, Fantasporto Critics Award and Audience Jury Award and International Fantasy Film Award, for The Company of Wolves, 1984; Palme d'Or, Cannes Festival, and De Sica Award, Sorrento Festival, for Mona Lisa, 1986; Best Screenplay Academy Award, Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film British Academy Award, Writers Guild of America Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Best Foreign Film Independent Spirit Award, New York Film Critics Circle Best Screenplay, for The Crying Game, 1992; Venice Film Festival Golden Lion, for Michael Collins, 1996; Berlin Film Festival Silver Berlin Bear, for The Butcher Boy, 1997; Brussels Internationa Film Festival Crystal Iris, 1998; Brussels International Film Festival Silver Raven for In Dreams, 1999; Best Adapted Screenplay British Academy Award, for The End of the Affair, 1999. Address: 6 Sorrento Terrace, Dalkey County, Dublin, Ireland

Films as Director:


Angel (Danny Boy) (+ sc)


The Company of Wolves (+ sc)


Mona Lisa (+ co-sc)


High Spirits (+ sc)


We're No Angels


The Miracle (+ sc)


The Crying Game (+ sc)


Interview with the Vampire


Michael Collins (+ sc)


The Butcher Boy (+ co-sc, exec pr)


In Dreams (+ co-sc); The End of the Affair (+ sc, pr)

Other Films:


Excalibur (Boorman)(creative associate); Traveller(Comerford) (sc)


The Last September (Warner) (co-exec pr)


By JORDAN: books—

A Night in Tunisia, London, 1976.

The Past, London, 1980.

Dream of the Beast, London, 1983.

Mona Lisa, with David Leland, London, 1986.

High Spirits, London, 1989.

The Crying Game, London, 1993.

A Neil Jordan Reader, New York, 1993.

Sunrise with Sea Monster, London, 1994.

Nightlines, New York, 1995.

Michael Collins: Screenplay and Film Diary, New York, 1996.

Collected Fiction, London, 1997.

By JORDAN: articles—

Interview with M. Open, in Film Directions (Belfast), vol. 5, no. 17, 1982.

Interviews in Time Out (London), 13 October 1983 and 13 September 1984.

Interview with Paul Taylor and Steve Jenkins, in Monthly FilmBulletin (London), September 1984.

Interview with J. Powers, in American Film (Washington, D.C.), July/August 1986.

"Lines Written in Dejection," in Producer (London), May 1987.

Interview in City Limits (London), 8 December 1988.

"Here Comes Mr. Jordan," interview with R. Sawhill in Interview (New York), December 1989.

"Neil Jordan's Guilty Pleasures," in Film Comment (New York), November/December 1992.

"Irish Eyes," interview with M. Glicksman in Film Comment (New York), January/February 1990.

Interview with Lois Gould in New York Times Magazine, 9 January 1994.

Interview with S. O'Shea in Harper's Bazaar (New York), November 1994.

"Neil Jordan Gets His Irish Up," interview with Dave Karger, in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 24 April 1998.

On JORDAN: articles—

Barra, Alan, "Here Comes Mr. Jordan," in American Film (Los Angeles), January 1990.

O'Toole, F., "Neil Jordan Gets Back to Making Home Movies," in New York Times, 14 October 1990.

Barra, Alan, "Jordan Airs," in Village Voice (New York), 6 August 1991.

Hooper, J., "Pop Terrorist," in Esquire (New York), December 1992.

"Rules of the Game," in New Yorker, 7 December 1992.

McDonagh, M., "Sex, Politics, and Identity Clash in Neil Jordan's Crying Game," in Film Journal, December 1992.

Harris, M., "The Little Movie That Could: The Crying Game," in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 12 February 1993.

Conant, J. "Lestat, c'est moi," in Esquire (New York), March 1994.

Kenny, Glenn, "Eire Jordan," in Premiere (New York), May 1998.

* * *

The film career of Neil Jordan could be said to parallel the fortunes of the British film industry during the 1980s. He made a stunning impact with his first two films. Angel was arguably the most accomplished film-making debut sponsored by Channel 4, while The Company of Wolves was the first feature to be produced by Palace, one of the more exciting film companies to emerge in the decade. Mona Lisa consolidated his reputation as a distinctive and visionary filmmaker. However, by the end of the decade both Jordan and the British film industry seemed to have run out of steam. In comparison with his earlier work, the more overtly commercial High Spirits and We're No Angels can only be described as mediocre and sadly lacking in ideas. While the director recovered in the early 1990s with The Crying Game, a film that rode a wave of publicity to an unlikely level of financial success, his subsequent features have been astoundingly uneven. While always expertly crafted, his more mainstream projects generally have been disappointing; meanwhile, his more personal ones have been consistently outstanding.

At its most successful, Jordan's cinema demonstrates his ability to make the familiar seem strange and in doing so to question our assumptions about the nature of the world. All his films revolve to some extent around the idea that reality is complex and multi-faceted. Jordan's characters often encounter nightmare worlds that they must negotiate rather than push aside precisely because they are unacknowledged dimensions of reality. Angel and Mona Lisa, for instance, are similar in structure; each deals with individuals who become inadvertently caught up in personal nightmares which threaten to destroy them: Danny with sectarian violence and bloody revenge and George with the hellish underworld of teenage prostitution and drug addiction.

The idea of the nightmare world is given a more literal rendition in The Company of Wolves. Based on a short story by Angela Carter, the film is a reworking of the Little Red Riding Hood story, a bizarre and sumptuous mixture of fairy tale, gothic horror, and Freudian psychoanalysis which betrays a rich variety of cinematic influences, from Cocteau through Michael Powell and Hammer horror to Laughton's Night of the Hunter. The film explicitly challenges the spurious division between reality and fantasy by setting up two distinct worlds: the "real" world of the girl asleep in bed, suffering from the onset of her first menstrual period, and the "dream world" of Rosalean and her granny, set in a magical forest which was entirely constructed in a studio. At the film's conclusion, the barrier between these two worlds is broken down; the wolves from the dream invade the sleeping girl's bedroom by smashing through a picture and the window.

It follows that symbolism is extremely important in Jordan's work. The Company of Wolves is rife with symbolic images relating to sexuality and procreation. Mona Lisa employs such devices to explore the film's central thematic concern with innocence and corruption. Images relating to childhood, and by extension innocence—the white rabbit, the silly glasses, the old woman's shoe, the dwarves—are juxtaposed with scenes of degradation, depravity, and violence. In Angel lost innocence is again explored. Danny's decision to swap his saxophone for a gun effectively symbolizes the idea of the heavenly musician turned avenging angel. It is precisely the ambiguity of Danny—a figure who straddles the divine/demonic divide—which gives the film its power. Initially repulsed by the violence that claims an angelic deaf-mute girl, Danny becomes a cold-blooded killer himself in his pursuit of the perpetrators. In comparison, the religious symbolism in We're No Angels seems rather clumsy and sentimental.

Despite being a powerful piece of cinema, there were indications in Mona Lisa that Jordan had begun to lose his sense of direction. The film lacks the moral ambiguity that made Angel so challenging. George remains a rather naive and socially inept character, his uncomplicated and thoroughly "decent" moral code at odds with the world in which he becomes involved, a world he cannot begin to understand. But his naivete is too overwhelming to be credible, and his social ineptitude borders on cliché. Unlike Angel and The Company of Wolves, the resolution of Mona Lisa is rather cozy and contrived; George returns to "normality," apparently none the worse for his traumatic experience.

Significantly, Jordan also attempted to lighten Mona Lisa by introducing comic elements, courtesy of the eccentric character Thomas, played by Robbie Coltrane. This familiar strategy in British cinema more often than not serves to blunt a film's cutting edge. High Spirits and We're No Angels demonstrate rather painfully that Jordan does not have a feel for comedy. The former relies on unimaginative stereotyping and comic cliché, while the latter descends at times into messy slapstick reminiscent of Abbott and Costello or the Three Stooges. Indeed, apart from the odd visual touch it is virtually impossible to recognize the latter film as the work of the person who made Angel or The Company of Wolves. After the debacle of We're No Angels, Jordan sensibly returned to Ireland. There he directed The Miracle, an atmospheric, subtly sensuous coming-of-age drama. The scenario's focus is on James and Rose, alienated adolescents who perceive the world with the type of poetic cynicism that is the license of bright, bored teens. James's father is introduced as a widower who drinks too much and plays bad music in a ten-cent dance hall. One day a pretty mystery woman (Beverly D'Angelo) comes to town. James and Rose are fascinated by her, and he soon begins wooing her. But he is unaware of her true identity, and Jordan proceeds to throw a curve ball at his audience that rivals the one thrown in Jordan's next film, The Crying Game. It turns out that the woman is none other than James's mother.

The Crying Game was a sensation, a feature which the film media extolled as a "must-see." The praise was warranted, for The Crying Game is inventive and entertaining, and it spotlights what was to become one of the most talked-about celluloid plot twists in screen history. It begins as a bleak political drama in which a kidnapped black British soldier (Forest Whitaker) is held hostage by an Irish Republican Army militant (Stephen Rea). Eventually, the latter sets out to locate the former's sweetheart (Jaye Davidson), who proves to have some interesting secrets. The Crying Game is at once a political drama, a thriller, and a love story. It became one of the rare "art house" films to make its way into mall theaters.

Jordan's follow-up to The Crying Game was the much anticipated but overproduced and ultimately tedious adaptation of Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire. Despite the presence of some of Hollywood's hottest actors, including Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, and Christian Slater, the best thing about the film was the provocative performance of young Kirsten Dunst in the role of Claudia, the child vampire. Equally unsatisfactory was In Dreams, a disagreeable thriller about a woman whose dreams are taken over by the thoughts of a psychic child killer. Despite winning acclaim in some quarters, Jordan's adaptation of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair was, in its pace and performances, an unsuccessful throwback to an earlier era of staid British filmmaking.

Happily, not all of the filmmaker's post-Crying Game projects have been disappointments. Michael Collins was a project close to Jordan's heart. It is a stirring biography of one of the central figures of 20th-century Irish history: a leader of the failed 1916 rebellion who went on to mastermind the guerilla war against the British, and who was just 31-years-old when he was assassinated. To be sure, Michael Collins is stunning filmmaking, but what makes it most provocative is its take on history. Its central character (Liam Neeson) is portrayed as a combination rabble rouser/rebel leader/reluctant terrorist who declares that he despises himself for the mayhem he spreads. He simply has no choice in the matter, and this assertion is meant to humanize him. Meanwhile, the British are portrayed as barbarous imperialists, and so Collins and his compatriots have no recourse but to battle them with equal doses of venom. The difference is that the British indiscriminately brutalize, while the Irish kill out of patriotism. Collins is depicted as a single-minded rebel who puts his country over his ego; his opposite from within the dissident ranks, Eamon de Valera (Alan Rickman), with whom he has political and strategic differences, is portrayed as a back-stabbing schemer. Michael Collins presents itself as a slice of Irish history, yet it should be left for the historians to determine the accuracy of its characterizations, along with the facts as presented—beginning with the assertion that de Valera was responsible for luring Collins to his death.

Finally, The Butcher Boy is one of the sleeper films of the late 1990s: an uncompromising and boldly filmed portrait of a hellish childhood. The title character, Francie Brady (Eammon Owens), is a pre-teen who is coming of age in a small Irish village in the early 1960s. This luckless lad is saddled with an ineffectual, alcoholic father and a loony mother. Adding to his plight is his rough treatment by a stern, humorless adult who lives in his town, and his betrayal by his best friend and "bloodbrother." On the outside Francie is eversmiling, and blessed with personality to spare. Yet his bravado only hides his heartbreak, and his increasingly disturbing fantasies are running wild in his subconscious. At such a tender age, he is faced with more than his share of rejection and, as a result, he descends into madness. Jordan does a superb job of visualizing the goings-on in Francie's mind, and the manner in which his youthful fantasies, coupled with the anti-communist paranoia of the times, mix with his reality in the most incendiary manner.

Perhaps because it is such a completely unidealized portrait of childhood, The Butcher Boy failed to earn the publicity won by The Crying Game. Yet it is just as fine a film—and it may be linked to Jordan's most successful earlier work as an exploration of the complex link between brutal reality and nightmarish fantasy.

—Duncan J. Petrie, updated by Rob Edelman

Jordan, Neil 1950–

views updated May 21 2018

JORDAN, Neil 1950


Full name, Neil Patrick Jordan; born February 25, 1950, in Sligo, Ireland; son of Michael (a professor) and Angela (a painter; maiden name, O'Brien) Jordan; married Vivienne (divorced); children: (with Vivienne) Sarah, Anna; (with Mary) Ben; (with Brenda Rawn) Daniel and 2 others. Education: National University of Ireland, University College, Dublin, B.A., literature and history, 1972.

Addresses: Office c/o Jenne Casarotto/Casarotto Co. Ltd., National House 60/66 Wardour St., London WIV 3HP, England. Agent International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211; William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career: Director and writer. Company of Wolves (a production company), Dublin, Ireland, partner; Irish Writers Cooperative, cofounder, administrator, and chairperson of board of directors, beginning 1974; worked as a laborer, teacher, and saxophonist.

Awards, Honors: Grant from British Arts Council, 1976; fiction prize, Guardian, 1979, for "Night in Tunisia"; named "most promising newcomer" by Evening Standard, 1982, and Best First Feature Film Award, Durban International Film Festival, 1983, for Angel; Arts Award, Sunday Independent, 1984; Caixa de Cattalunya Award and Prize of the International Critics' Jury, Catalonian International Film Festival, 1984, London Critics Circle Film Award, best film, and ALFS Award, director of the year, London Critics Circle, Grand Prize Award nomination, Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival, Special Mention, Fantafestival, Audience Jury Award, Critics' Award, and International Fantasy Film Award, best film, Fantasporto, 1985, for The Company of Wolves; Golden Scroll, outstanding achievement, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, 1985; New York Film Critics Award, Balladolid Award, Los Angeles Critics Circle Award, London Critics Circle Award, Golden Palm Award nomination, Cannes Film Festival, 1986, Film Award nominations, best direction, best film (with others) and best original screenplay (with David Leland), British Academy of Film and Television, Golden Globe Award nomination, best screenplay (with Leland), Writers Guild of America Award nomination, best screenplay written for the screen (with Leland), 1987, all for Mona Lisa; Ireland's People of the Year Award, 1986; Golden Berlin Bear nomination, Berlin International Film Festival, 1991, Evening Standard British Film Award, best screenplay, 1992, for The Miracle; New York Film Critics Circle Award, best screenplay, 1992, Academy Award nominations, best writing and best director, Academy Award, best original screenplay, Alexander Korda Award (with Stephen Woolley), best British film, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Film Award nominations, best direction, best film, and best original screenplay, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Amanda Award, best foreign feature film, Directors Guild of America Award nomination, outstanding directorial achievement, Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination, best motion picture, Independent Spirit Award, best foreign film, ALFS Awards, British director of the year and British screenwriter of the year, Writers Guild of America, best screenplay written for the screen, Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award, filmscreenplay, 1993, for The Crying Game; Golden Lion Award, Venice Film Festival, 1996, for Michael Collins; Silver Berlin Bear, best director, Golden Berlin Bear nomination, 1998, Chicago Film Critics Association Award nomination, best director, 1999, for The Butcher Boy; Crystal Iris, Brussels International Film Festival, 1998; Silver Raven Award, Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, 1999, for In Dreams; Film Award, best screenplay, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Film Award nomination (with Woolley), best film, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, David Lean Award for Direction, Golden Globe Award nomination, best director, USC Scripter Award nomination (with Graham Greene), 2000, Evening Standard British Film Award, best screenplay, ALFS Award nomination, London Critics Circle Film Awards, British screenwriter of the year, 2001, for The End of the Affair; Special Award, film direction with a special visual sensitivity, Camerimage, 2002; Golden Seashell Award nomination, San Sebastian International Film Festival, 2002, for The Good Thief.


Film Director:

Angel, Motion Picture Co., 1982, released as Danny Boy, Triumph Films, 1984.

The Company of Wolves, Cannon, 1984.

Mona Lisa, Island Pictures, 1986.

High Spirits, TriStar, 1988.

We're No Angels, Paramount, 1989.

The Miracle, Miramax, 1991.

The Crying Game, Miramax, 1992.

Interview with the Vampire (also known as Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles ), Warner Bros., 1994.

Michael Collins, Warner Bros., 1996.

The Butcher Boy, Warner Bros., 1997.

In Dreams, DreamWorks, 1999.

The End of the Affair, Columbia, 1999.

The Good Thief, Fox, 2002.

Also director of a documentary on the making of Excalibur.

Film Executive Producer:

(With others) The Courier, Vestron Pictures, 1987.

The Butcher Boy, Warner Bros., 1997.

The Last September, Trimark Pictures, 1999.

The Good Thief, Fox, 2002.

Film Producer:

The End of the Affair, Columbia, 1999.

The Actors, Miramax, 2003.

Intermission, Buena Vista, 2003.

Film Appearances:

(Segment "John Boorman"), Lumiere et compagnie (also known as Lumiere and Company and Lumiere y compania ), 1995.

Television Director; Specials:

"Miss Otis Regrets/Just One of Those Things," Red, Hot, and Blue, ABC, 1990.

Not I, PBS, Channel 4, 2001.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

The View, ABC, 2003.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Independent Spirit: Close Up, Bravo, 1993.



Traveller, 1981.

Angel, Motion Picture Co., 1982, released as Danny Boy, Triumph Films, 1984.

(With Angela Carter) The Company of Wolves (based on a story by Carter), Cannon, 1984.

(With David Leland) Mona Lisa, Island Pictures, 1986, published by Faber, 1986.

High Spirits, TriStar, 1988.

The Miracle (based on his story "Night in Tunisia"), Miramax, 1991.

The Crying Game, Miramax, 1992.

Michael Collins, Warner Bros., 1996.

The Butcher Boy, Warner Bros., 1997.

In Dreams, DreamWorks, 1999.

The End of the Affair, Columbia, 1999.

The Good Thief, Fox, 2002.

The Actors, Miramax, 2003.

Television Movies:

Mr. Solomon Wept, BBC, 1978.

Seduction, RTE, 1978.

Tree, RTE, 1978.

Miracles and Miss Langan, RTE, 1979.

Night in Tunisia (also known as Channel Crossing; based on his story "Night in Tunisia"), RTE, 1980.

Radio Plays:

Miracles and Miss Langan, RTE, 1977.


Night in Tunisia and Other Stories, CoOp Books, 1976, Braziller, 1980.

The Past (novel), J. Cape/Braziller, 1979.

The Dream of a Beast (novel), Chatto & Windus, 1983, Random House, 1988.

A Neil Jordan Reader (stories), Vintage, 1993.

Sunrise with Sea Monster, Chatto & Windus, 1994, published in the U.S. as Nightlines, Random House, 1995.

Works are also represented in anthologies including Paddy No More, Longship Press, 1978; and New Writing and Writers 16, Humanities, 1979; contributor of poems to magazines.



American Film, January, 1990, p. 36.

Chicago Tribune, April 22, 1985; November 21, 1988.

Cineaste, fall, 1996, p. 20.

Film Comment, January/February, 1990, p. 9.

Interview, December, 1989, p. 75.

Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1980; April 19, 1985; June 20, 1985; November 18, 1988.

Newsweek, May 6, 1985; June 16, 1986.

New Yorker, June 16, 1986.

New York Times, May 18, 1984; April 19, 1985; June 13, 1986; November 18, 1988.

New York Times Magazine, January 9, 1994, p. 22.

People Weekly, June 16, 1986.

Time International, February 23, 1998, p. 52.

Village Voice, May 29, 1984; April 30, 1985; June 17, 1986.

Washington Post, November 9, 1988.

Jordan, Neil

views updated May 14 2018


Nationality: Irish. Born: Sligo in 1950. Education: University College, Dublin. Career: Co-founder, Irish Writers Co-operative, 1974. Lives in Bray, County Wicklow. Awards: Arts Council bursary, 1976; Guardian Fiction prize, 1979; Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or, 1986; Sorrento Film Festival De Sica award, 1986; New York Film Critics Circle award, Best Screenplay, 1992; Alexander Korda award, Best British Film, Best Direction, 1993; Writers Guild American Screen award, Best Screenplay Written Directly for Screen, 1993; Academy Award, Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for Screen 1993; Golden Lion award, Venice Film Festival, 1996; Crystal Isis award, Brussels International Film Festival, 1998; Silver Raven award, Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, 1999. Address: c/o Faber and Faber, 3 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AU, England.



The Past. London, Cape, and New York, Braziller, 1980.

The Dream of a Beast. London, Chatto and Windus, 1983; New York, Random House, 1989.

Sunrise with Sea Monster. London, Chatto and Windus, 1994; NewYork, Random House, 1995.

Nightlines. New York, Random House, 1995.

Short Stories

Night in Tunisia and Other Stories. Dublin, Co-op, 1976; London, Writers and Readers, 1979.

Collected Fiction. London, Vintage, 1997.

Uncollected Short Stories

"A Bus, a Bridge, a Beach" and "The Old-Fashioned Lift," in Paddy No More. Nantucket, Massachusetts, Longship Press, 1978.

"The Artist" and "The Photographer," in New Writing and Writers 16. Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, Humanities Press, 1979.



Angel (Danny Boy ), 1982; London, Faber, 1989; The Company of Wolves, with Angela Carter, 1984; Mona Lisa, with David Leland, 1986; London, Faber, 1986; High Spirits, 1988; London, Faber, 1989; We're No Angels, 1989; The Miracle, 1991; The Crying Game, 1992; Interview with the Vampire, 1994; Michael Collins, Geffen Pictures, 1996; published as Michael Collins: Screenplay and Film Diary, New York, Plume, 1996; (With Patrick McCabe), The Butcher Boy, Warner Brothers, 1997; (With Bruce Robinson), In Dreams, DreamWorks, 1999; The End of the Affair, 1999.


Theatrical Activities:

Assistant director: Film Excalibur (John Boorman), 1981; Director: Films Angel (Danny Boy ), 1982; The Company of Wolves, 1984; Mona Lisa, 1986; High Spirits, 1988; We're No Angels, 1990; The Miracle, 1991; The Crying Game, 1992; Interview with the Vampire, 1994.

* * *

Irish-born Neil Jordan first came into prominence in 1976 with his publication of Night in Tunisia and Other Stories, which won the Somerset Maugham award and the Guardian Fiction prize. These perceptive stories, often about lonely or displaced people, seem strongly influenced by James Joyce's Dubliners, but to Joyce's crisp realism Jordan characteristically adds a poetic quality.

He followed this with The Past, a similarly well-received novel about a man searching for the truth about his parentage. But Jordan treats this apparently straightforward theme in a highly complex way. The novel takes us over various places in England and (mainly) Ireland over the years from 1912 to 1934. Una, a mediocre but successful actress, has a child, Rene, by Michael O'Shaughnessy, a lawyer, and marries him. There is little love, merely resignation, between them. Many years later, when the unnamed narrator comes looking for his past, Rene's close friend Lili becomes a major source of information. She tells much of the story in her own words and the narrator often addresses her. But the main narrative voice is that of the unnamed man who is rediscoveringeven, he constantly insists, reinventing and remakingthe past in order to discover the truth about his own origins. The novel is an act of imaginative reconstruction, with the past often having to be guessed at, conjured up, in the absence of information. The narrator frequently directs his speculations, hypotheses, and deductions directly to Lili and by implication the reader. Jordan's writing is deeply sensuous, lyrical, almost painterly at times and saturated with visual imagery. As often in his work, both fictional and cinematic, the political and the romantic are deeply entwined, and the novel is deeply aware of what it calls "the slow irony of history." The story of the novel is to a certain extent the story of Ireland in those years. Eamonn de Valera makes frequent guest appearances, Roger Casement is arrested off-stage, and Michael O'Shaughnessy, an active Free Stater, is assassinated.

Jordan's next work of fiction, a novella titled The Dream of a Beast, could hardly be more different. Set in a mysteriously dystopian Dublin, it is the nightmarish story of a man who slowly turns into some kind of animal. He becomes estranged from his wife and young daughter, increasingly cut off from an urban world that is subtly intimated as undergoing its own dark metamorphoses. At the same time, there are strange epiphanies occurring constantly, such as a young woman who visits him in his advertising office and falls in love with him, or a young boy who also feels love for him. In the ambiguous ending it is possible even that his family returns to him. The Dream of a Beast is a deeply imagistic novel about a man who has lost touch with feelings and perhaps learns to recover them. Jordan himself has said of it that it is less Kafka than Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Given his highly visual imagination, it is not so surprising in retrospect that since this novella Jordan has turned away from fiction in favor of film, although he himself denies any conflict. He says, "I don't know any novelists, particularly the younger ones, who aren't working in film. In the fifties, people used to talk about the death of the novel and saw television as a threat to writing. Now the writers have pushed their way in." He has become a world-famous director and scriptwriter, with hits like Mona Lisa, The Crying Game, and Michael Collins. He co-wrote the original screenplay of Mona Lisa, of which he said, "The attraction of it was that it could become a love story, a contemporary moral tale with two characters so far apart, but so inherently likeable that an audience might empathize, understand each point of view, feel the depth of their misplaced passion, and yet know from the start how impossible it was."

Judy Cooke,

updated by Laurie Clancy