Miranda Richardson as Jude
The Crying Game boldly enters the dangerous areas of politics, race ‘ and sex that few other films dare to approach. Director NEIL ! JORDAN talks to Trevor Johnston, while Alan Morrison listens to
producer STEPHEN WOOLLEY.
L_. BThe Listo— 19 November 1992
veryone I took the script to said “No, you can’t do this”, which sort of encouraged me to persevere with it,’ recalls writer/director Neil Jordan, never a man to shape his output along the lines of popular wisdom. ‘The North of Ireland’s a bit of a turn-off, you know,’ he adds, almost without needing to. ‘The way the film confronts racism makes North American distributors pretty uneasy. And the whole journey the movie takes is so uncomfortable. for a while it looked like no one would back it.’ Uncomfortable The Crying Game certainly is. But then again, it’s also challenging, surprising and ultimately rather moving; a fine testimonial to the now defunct and late lamented Palace Pictures,
‘Men are obsessed with women butthe reality turns out to be something different. That just about sums it up.’
whose co-founder Stephen Woolley here continues a producing association with Jordan that’s survived the sundry ups and downs of the Irishman’s moviemaking career. Ten years ago, Palace were one of the most enterprising of the small companies exploiting the nascent home video boom, and one of their first moves into theatrical distribution was Angel, an Ulster-set thriller made for the Film on Four slot that marked an auspicious celluloid debut for award-winning Sligo-born novelist Jordan. Woolley and Palace then took this bright new talent under their wing when they ventured into actual film production, premiering the Angela Carter inspired lycanthopric fantasia The Company of
Wolves at the 1984 Edinburgh International Film Festival and progressing to yet further acclaim with Bob Hoskins’ finest hour in the seedy urban ‘romance‘ Mona Lisa two years later.
It was with High Spirits, however, a truly lamentable attempt at doing a classy special effects movie with an eye on the mainstream US box office. that the partnership started to go awry. While Jordan bounced back with another large-scale Hollywood offering in the shape of We're No Angels. an acquired taste ecclesiastical comedy with Messrs De Niro and Penn hamming it up like mad. the two films taken together amounted to the sort of big budget ﬂop double-whammy that might have finished off a director of lesser determination. Typically, Jordan came off the ropes again to return to the Palace fold for The Miracle, a modest and highly personal drama about two kids in a seaside Irish town which subtly recaptured the atmosphere of his earlier short stories, but was doomed to suffer an unjustly minimal cinema release.
Thankfully for the rest of us, it was at this point that the screenplay for The Crying Game began to take hold. ‘I’d been thinking ! about it for a while but it was a case of ' whether I wanted to do another film aobut Northern Ireland. Was there anything left to say?’ he continues, following the words with one of his favourite tics — a still recognisably hibernian drawled ‘ye know’, accompanied by a simultaneous nod, a raise ofthe eyebrows and a piercing look back across the