Collins hitman gives backing to top event
By Roisin Cox
Belfast Telegraph, October 11, 2001

Film festival role for screen star Meyers

An added attraction at the launch of this year’s Foyle Film Festival was the appearance of Dublin-born Hollywood star Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

And he gave the festival, which will show 200 films over 10 days in early November, his is full backing.

Although Meyers has numerous film credits he is probably best known as Michael Collins’ assassin in the 1996 hit movie, a tag he has been unable to throw off.

Meyers said that despite being tired and losing his luggage on the journey he was excited to be in Derry for the first time.

He said: “It is a beautiful city, with a beautiful accent and beautiful people. I’ve come on an adventure and I’ve had a good one so far.”

Meyers said he was lending his support to the festival because he felt that it promoted originality.

He said: “Film festivals usually breed so many new ideas. I find that a lot of the photography and films shot by big directors and using big budgets are usually copied from independent films which are shown at festivals.

“Festivals are where you go to get the threadbare idea and then the studio goes and puts a lot of gloss on it.”

In a familiar refrain he said although he had appeared in independent movies he didn’t want to be typecast in that role.

He said: “I have enough people who will label me and I don’t want to go it myself.

“As an actor I don’t prefer either independent films or big budget films, it is all about the part .

“All the roles I have played have been cat among the pigeon roles. Instead of being the narrator I have always been the objective, I make the story unfold instead of telling it.”

He said he would like to work with Neil Jordan, director of Michael Collins, again.

He said: “He’s brilliant and he’s Irish and close to home. I like what he does and his attitude to what he does.

“It is a different industry from the 1970s. You have to appear now to be squeaky clean and project perfect images for the studio. But the main thing is that you have to be good and that’s it.”

But fame brings its own problems. On the pressures of stardom he said: “It is difficult to be an icon, everyone wants to be pleased by you, but you can’t be yourself.”

Jonathan has just finished filming with Indian director Gurinder Chadha on a film as yet untitled. He will begin filming in Bangkok in January on a new film based on a book by Alex Garland who also wrote the Beach.

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