Neil Jordan

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Neil Jordan
Neil Jordan by David Shankbone.jpg
Jordan at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival
Born Neil Patrick Jordan
(1950-02-25) 25 February 1950 (age 64)
Sligo, Ireland
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, novelist
Years active 1979–present
Spouse(s) Vivienne Shields
Brenda Rawn (2004–present)
Children 5
Website
neiljordan.com

Neil Patrick Jordan (born 25 February 1950) is an Irish film director, screenwriter and novelist. He won an Academy Award (Best Original Screenplay) for The Crying Game. He also won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival for The Butcher Boy.[1]

Early life[edit]

Jordan was born in County Sligo, the son of Angela (née O'Brien), a painter, and Michael Jordan, a professor.[2] He was educated at St. Paul's College, Raheny. Of his religious background, Jordan said in a 1999 Salon interview: "I was brought up a Catholic and was quite religious at one stage in my life, when I was young. But it left me with no scars whatever; it just sort of vanished." He said about his current beliefs that "God is the greatest imaginary being of all time. Along with Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, the invention of God is probably the greatest creation of human thought."[3] Later, Jordan attended University College Dublin, where he studied Irish history and English literature.

Career[edit]

Film[edit]

When John Boorman was filming Excalibur in Ireland, he recruited Jordan as a "creative associate". A year later Boorman was executive producer on Jordan's first feature Angel, a tale of a musician caught up in the Troubles, starred Stephen Rea who has subsequently appeared in almost all of Jordan's films to date. During the 1980s, he directed films that won him acclaim, including The Company of Wolves and Mona Lisa, both made in England. The Company of Wolves became a cult favorite.

As a writer/director, Jordan has a highly idiosyncratic body of work, ranging from mainstream hits like Interview with the Vampire to commercial failures like We're No Angels to a variety of more personal, low-budget arthouse pictures. He was also the driving force behind the cable TV series The Borgias.

Neil Jordan at the German premiere of The Brave One, 2007

Unconventional sexual relationships are a recurring theme in Jordan's work, and he often finds a sympathetic side to characters that audiences would traditionally consider deviant or downright horrifying. His film The Miracle, for instance, followed two characters who struggled to resist a strong, incestuous attraction, while The Crying Game made complicated, likable characters out of an IRA terrorist and a transgender woman. Interview with the Vampire, like the Anne Rice book it was based on, focused on the intense, intimate interpersonal relationship of two undead men who murder humans nightly (although the pair never have sex, they are clearly lovers of a sort), accompanied by an equally lusty vampire woman who is eternally trapped in the body of a little girl. While Lestat (Tom Cruise) is depicted in an attractive but villainous manner, his partner Louis (Brad Pitt) and the child vampire Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) are meant to capture the audience's sympathy despite their predatory nature. In the remake of The End of the Affair, two people (Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore) engage in a love affair that will end as suddenly as it started, with both not wanting its end.

In addition to the unusual sexuality of Jordan's films, he frequently returns to the Troubles of Northern Ireland. The Crying Game and Breakfast on Pluto both concern a transgender character (played by Jaye Davidson and Cillian Murphy, respectively), both concern the Troubles, and both feature frequent Jordan leading man Stephen Rea. The two films, however, are very different, with Crying Game being a realistic thriller/romance and Breakfast on Pluto a much more episodic, stylized, darkly comic biography. Jordan also frequently tells stories about children or young people, such as The Miracle and The Butcher Boy. While his pictures are most often grounded in reality, he occasionally directs more fantastic or dreamlike films, such as The Company of Wolves, High Spirits, Interview with the Vampire and In Dreams.

Jordan with Alicja Bachleda-Curus and Colin Farrell at the Ondine premiere, 2010 Tribeca Film Festival in New York

The critical success of Jordan's early pictures led him to Hollywood, where he directed High Spirits and We're No Angels; both were critical and financial disasters. He later returned home to make the more personal The Crying Game, which was nominated for six Academy Awards. Jordan won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film. Its unexpected success led him back to American studio filmmaking, where he directed Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. He also directed the crime drama The Brave One starring Jodie Foster.

Neil Gaiman announced during his The Today Show appearance on 27 January 2009, that Neil Jordan would be directing the film of his Newbery Medal-winning book The Graveyard Book. Jordan also wrote and directed the Irish made film Ondine (2009), starring Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda-Curuś. He also directed Byzantium, an adaptation of the vampire play of the same name starring Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton and Jonny Lee Miller.[4]

Neil Jordan's next feature is entitled Broken Dream and will feature Ben Kingsley and John Hurt.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Jordan has five children: Anna and Sarah from his marriage to solicitor Vivienne Shields; Dashiel Jordan and Daniel Jordan from his current marriage to Brenda Rawn and Ben, a child from a brief relationship with architect Mary Donohoe.

Jordan lives in a house in Dalkey, which is a part of the larger town of Dún Laoghaire.[6]

Awards and honours[edit]

  • Guardian Fiction Prize for Night in Tunisia (1976)
  • Nomination Golden Globe Best Original Screenplay for Mona Lisa (1987)
  • Academy Award Best Original Screenplay for The Crying Game (1993)
  • Nomination Academy Award Best Director for The Crying Game (1993)
  • Nomination Golden Globe Best Director for The End of the Affair (1999)
  • 2004 Irish PEN Award

Filmography[edit]

Fiction[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Berlinale: 1998 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  2. ^ "Neil Jordan Biography (1950–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  3. ^ Sragow, Michael (9 December 1999). "Beautiful Dreamer". Salon.com. 
  4. ^ Kemp, Stuart (14 May 2011). "Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton to Star in Vampire Pic 'Byzantium' (Cannes)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Ben Kinglsey & John Hurt for Neil Jordan - John Boorman's 'Broken Dream'". IFTN. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Famous People of Dalkey'

External links[edit]