Sunday, May 3, 2009

How Rose (I would have joined the IRA) McGowan; The IRA conned Kari Skogland, Jim Sturgess and Rose.

How Rose (I would have joined the IRA) McGowan; The IRA conned Kari Skogland, Jim Sturgess and Rose.

A director has distanced herself from comments about supporting the IRA made by an actress who stars in her latest film.

Rose McGowan sparked controversy with comments made at the world premiere of Fifty Dead Men Walking, a film based on the memoirs of Martin McGartland, an RUC Special Branch agent who infiltrated the IRA in the 1980s.

The 35-year-old American actress, whose father is Irish, said at a press conference at the Toronto Film Festival last week: ``I imagine, had I grown up in Belfast, I would 100% have been in the IRA.

"My heart just broke for the cause," she told a news conference before the film's world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. "I imagine, had I grown up in Belfast, I would 100 per cent have been in the IRA," she said. "Violence is not to be played out daily and provide an answer to problems, but I understand it."

McGowan plays an IRA operative in the film, which stars Sir Ben Kingsley and Jim Sturgess.

The producers and director of the film attempted to limit the damage caused by her comments by publicly expressing their disapproval.

There are concerns that the comments could damage the film, presently being sold around the world and to be released in the UK next month.

In a statement, they said they regret any ``distress that this (the comments) may have caused to people of Northern Ireland and particularly those who were victims of or caught up in the shocking events that existed during the Troubles.''

The comments ``were not shared, nor endorsed, by anybody associated with the production or creative elements of the film'', they said.

Director Kari Skogland said: "Rose's personal opinions of Northern Ireland do not reflect the perspective of the film in any way.

"Our goal was to present an even, non-judgmental point of view so the audience could follow the path of an informer with empathy no matter what the politics.

"We are all very proud of this thought-provoking film and are deeply indebted to the city of Belfast and Northern Ireland for giving us such a warm welcome whilst filming."

Unionist politicians have criticised McGowan for her ``foolish and offensive'' comments.

McGowan has appeared in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof and the horror film Scream, and was previously engaged to Marilyn Manson.


IRA were some of the nicest people that I ever met, says actor

By Maureen Coleman
Friday, 27 February 2009

Up and coming young actor Jim Sturgess — who stars in the new informer movie 50 Dead Men Walking — has spoken about the “human side” of the IRA and how some of its members were “the nicest people” he’d ever met.

The Surrey-born actor, who plays double agent Martin McGartland in the movie, told how he was introduced to former members of the IRA, who acted as “chaperones” while filming took place in Belfast.

And he claimed they were “passionate people”, who weren’t just caught up in the IRA “for violence’s sake”.

Sturgess was speaking to Empire movie magazine ahead of the general release of 50 Dead Men Walking in April. The movie will also close the ninth Jameson Belfast Film Festival.

His comments about the movie are likely to cause controversy. Hollywood actress Rose McGowan, who stars alongside Sturgess, came under fire last year when she said she would have joined the IRA, had she grown up in Belfast.

Sturgess said he didn’t know what to expect when he first came to Belfast to shoot 50 Dead men Walking.

“It was confusing for me, because I met what I believed were these thuggish terrorists from Belfast that blew places up in England — the IRA was presented to me like that — so when I met these people, and saw the human side, they were some of the nicest people I’d ever met.

“So instantly you start trying to understand what it all meant for them, that they weren’t just doing it for violence’s sake. Some of them were genuinely nice, passionate people.

“And it was a thrilling undercover ride, really. We would go into these pubs that we would never normally be allowed to hang out in, but because of who we were with we were vouched for. I would definitely not do that as an average citizen visiting Belfast. So it was exciting, becoming part of the city — or at least pretending to. Soaking it all in.”

Sturgess, who also stars in Heartless, 21 and The Other Boleyn Girl and has been hailed as “the new James McAvoy” said he wasn’t aware of the dangers facing him until filming had ended.

“We were given kind of chaperones, these people who looked after us, who were ex-members of the IRA and we basically stayed with them for two weeks before we started,” he said.

“It was kept under wraps because, in the areas we were in, he (Martin McGartland) is not a popular man. But even so, afterwards I learned there were times when I was probably in more danger than I realised. I was blissfully unaware, but I think the producers were having mini heart attacks.”

50 Dead Men Walking is based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Martin McGartland, who was recruited by the British police to infiltrate the IRA.

He was unmasked by the IRA in 1991 and narrowly escaped death when he leapt from a third floor window in a block of flats.

In 1999 the IRA tracked him down to a town in Whitley Bay and shot him six times, but failed to kill him. McGartland remains in hiding.

Martin McGartland says: "I refused to be connected or involved with the film nor the film-makers. I had been informed that those connected were too friendly with IRA members, going to parties with IRA members, drinking in IRA pubs etc. The IRA had a say in what way film was made, they carried out security. I took legal action against film-makers and the result was that changes were made to the film, disclimers added to begining and ending stating that I was not connected or involved with the film. It also make clear that the film was NOT True account of what took place. I can say that the film was 99% fiction. I also refused an offer to be a paid consultant on the film. The film-makers also paid me damages, compensation. I understand that Kari Skogland was ordered to do so and I was informed that those funding the film were not at all happy with her."