By Eileen Murphy
The little boy who stars with Meryl Streep in the film version of “Dancing at Lughnasa” was discovered on the last day of school.
Darrell Johnston, from Glencree, Co. Wicklow, was helping his fourth-year teacher on the final day of classes when a casting agent called to the school. The students were asked to go into the hall, where they auditioned. Johnston, who had previously appeared in Roddy Doyle’s “The Family,” impressed the woman and was chosen on the spot.
The story of “Lughnasa” is told through the eyes of Johnston’s character, Michael. The plot revolves around Michael, who was born out of wedlock to one of five sisters living in a rural Irish town. As the story unfolds and the family’s secrets are revealed, he is forced to grow up very quickly. Advance word is that Johnston’s performance is extraordinary.
Johnston has his sights set on a movie career, but he’s a sensible lad all the same.
“I’d like to be a famous actor when I grow up and be in loads of films,” he confided to the Sunday World. “But first, I think I’ll get my education, because it’s good to have another career as well. I’m going into sixth class next year.”
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Johnston also shows himself to be a bit of a film connoisseur.
“Maybe I could do action movies because I like them. I like Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson, but I’m not too crazy about John Travolta,” he said.
Sheesh. Everybody’s a critic.
The film opens in Ireland on Sept. 25, and will debut in the United States in November. But don’t worry — we’re sure to have lots more “Lughnasa” to report on before then.Live, from New York . . .
Those of you who stay up late enough to watch NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” will be familiar with Colin Quinn as the new anchor of “Weekend Update.” Now the Irish American comedian, whose stock in trade is playing regulah, workin’ class guys, is going back to his ethnic roots with his new one man show, “Colin Quinn: An Irish Wake.”
According to People Magazine, SNL producer Lorne Michaels loved the show, which he saw when it debuted in Aspen, Colo., earlier this year. Michaels, who has a nose for comedy, offered to finance the “Wake’s” New York run. The show will open at Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theater on Aug. 25. Tickets are available from Tele-Charge at (212) 239-6200.
“I offered to get two jobs to pay for it,” recalled Quinn. “But Lorne coughed it up.”
His word is his . . . Bond?
Pierce Brosnan is gearing up to reprise the role of super spy James Bond in his third franchise outing, which is tentatively titled “Pressure Point.” This time, the suave sleuth will be shaken, and quite possibly stirred, by a different type of supervillain: a woman with whom he once, er, bonded and then, well, dumped.
Brosnan sounded oddly reserved about his future as Her Majesty’s favorite watchdog. He told a London newspaper: “I don’t want people to watch me getting old and see my waist getting bigger and my hair thinner. That would be horrible.”
Ouch. Take that, Sean Connery. Take that, Roger Moore.
Personally, we can’t imagine the extremely photogenic Pierce ever getting old, fat or bald. We’re convinced he’s got a portrait stashed in an attic somewhere. And it’s doing all the aging for him.
Driving him to distraction
Really, it’s not as easy being a teen idol as everyone seems to think. Sure, the girls fall at your feet, you make pots of money and your picture is splashed all over the telly and on countless magazines. But some people try to take advantage. As you’ll see in our next story.
A few weeks ago, we regaled you with details of BoyZone hunk Keith Duffy’s surprise wedding in a Las Vegas marriage mill, complete with a blessing from an Elvis impersonator. Duffy seems to have it all: a new wife, a daughter, a smash hit album, and an upcoming American tour. But what he doesn’t have, what he’ll tell you what he wants, what he really, really wants, is . . . his old cars back. And at a reasonable rate, thank you very much.
Yes, we’ll explain. You see, Duffy has always been something of a car buff. And now that he’s famous, he wants to buy back all of his former vehicles. Sentimental reasons, no doubt. So he let it be known that he was in the market for his former conveyances. All together now: big mistake!
Keith told the Sunday World, “The biggest mistake of my life was letting people know I was interested in getting my old motors back.”
He sniffed, “The prices people are asking are just a joke.”
You think he’s kidding?
“One guy said he had an old BMW I used to own. I bought it for _3,000. He wanted _15,000.” Possibly worried that his fans hadn’t gotten up to their multiplication tables yet, he helpfully did the math. “[That’s] five times what I paid.”
Now, don’t start worrying that Keith will have to rely on Dublin Bus to get around town. He’s got eight cars in the garage (pronounced GAH-raj for our Irish readers), including a BMW and a Corvette.
Keith is incensed at the idea that people are out to part him from his cash. “I might have a few bob now, but I’m no bleedin’ eejit.” So there.
Now that we can all watch BallyK in the comfort of our own homes, be on the lookout for ‘din Moloney, who guest stars on a few upcoming episodes. She plays the mad, wild-haired girlfriend of handyman Donal over the next few weeks (for those who are watching on WLIW, Wednesdays at 9 p.m.). And for those who are watching on WNJN (Sundays at 8 p.m.): don’t miss next week’s episode. WYBE viewers: make sure you set the VCRs for Aug. 28 and Sept. 4, at 9 p.m.