Gabriel Byrne and Aidan Gillen sign on for Samuel Beckett biopic


Irish actors Gabriel Byrne and Aidan Gillen have joined the cast of Samuel Beckett’s upcoming biopic, ‘Dance First’.

Titled after Beckett’s famous adage “First Dance, Then Think”, the film is a comprehensive account of the Nobel Prize-winning playwright’s life.

The film will be directed by James Marsh, who won an Oscar for his 2009 documentary “Man on Wire” and directed the Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything.”

“’Dance First’ is an imaginative, playful and often poignant account of the life of Samuel Beckett. The film has a bold structure that sees Beckett discuss the mistakes of his life with another version of himself, an antagonistic alter ego,” Marsh told Variety.

“But you don’t have to be a student of Beckett to enjoy this film – the screenplay is both witty and dramatic, focusing on key relationships in his life and including surprising episodes such as his active involvement in the French Resistance and his near-fatal stabbing by a pimp in Paris.We have Gabriel Byrne attached to play both the mature Beckett and his alter-ego and we plan to build a powerful ensemble around him.

Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. CREDIT: public domain

Fionn O’Shea (“Normal People”) will play young Beckett, while Golden Globe-winning actor Gabriel Byrne (“Hereditary,” “The Usual Suspects”) will play the playwright in his later years.

Tony Award-winning Drumcondra native Aidan Gillen (“Game of Thrones,” “Peaky Blinders”) was recently announced to join the cast, reports HotPress. French actress Sandrine Bonnaire (“The Ceremony”) has also been announced for the film.

“Samuel Beckett had such a radical influence on modern culture, but for all the adulation that came his way, he was acutely aware of his own flaws,” Marsh said.

“The film is a playful and often poignant exploration of the literary icon’s life, delving deep into the key relationships in Beckett’s life – primarily the two women he was close to.”

“Dance First” is written by BAFTA-winning screenwriter Neil Forsyth (“Guilt,” “Eric, Ernie & Me”).

Shooting for the film is set to begin in Budapest on May 30.


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