News, Film Reviews and Festival Updates from the Irish Film Institute (www.ifi.ie). Irish Film Institute is principally funded by the Arts Council.
Please note: as of September 2014 we've moved our blogs and news stories to www.ifi.ie/category/news/
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Very extremely dangerous Jerry McGill
A year since its debut at last year's IFI Stranger Than Fiction Documentary Film Festival, Paul Duane returns with his feature film, Very Extremely Dangerous, a tragic story of Jerry McGill, an aging rocker and the last American outlaw. So why make a film about him? Director Paul Duane explains.
Jerry McGill is too obscure to even be
called a cult figure.
Only those who've read Robert Gordon's
seminal It Came From Memphis or seen William Eggleston's dark, outrageous 'home
movie' Stranded in Canton would have the vaguest idea who he is, or those rockabilly
completists who own a copy of Sun 326, Lovestruck, recorded by Jerry and his
band The Topcoats in 1959, his first and only official release. It's not even a
particularly good record (the B-side is better).
So why make a film about him when there are
so many other, probably more deserving musicians out there?
Well, back in mid-2009 I was facing a blank
wall – my first cut of Barbaric Genius, my film on John Healy, had been
rejected, all further funding placed in question & it looked as if it would
never be completed.
So when I got an email from Jerry's fiancée
Joyce telling me that he'd been diagnosed with lung cancer, had booked a
recording session in Memphis next week, and wanted myself and Robert Gordon to
meet him there, I grabbed an idea out of thin air.
The story of a man who blew all his chances
the first time round, who turned his back on a promising music career in favour
of a criminal life, trying to redeem
himself while staring death in the eyes. I knew Jerry was charismatic and a great
storyteller from my phone conversations with him, but could he carry a film?
Out of nothing more than that idea, and
Jerry's insistence that he wasn't going to go quietly into the night, that he
was finally going to follow up his one and only record, myself and Robert
Gordon dragged this film, kicking and screaming and fighting us every inch of
the way, into existence. Was it worth it? You tell me. Paul Duane Film Director Very Extremely Dangerous opens on Friday, October 18th, 2013, exclusively at the IFI. There will be a post-screening Q&A with director Paul Duane following the 20.30 screening of the film. BOOK NOW!