James Marsh - Director Used Local Knowledge To Stage Authentic Ira Funeral

Director James Marsh relied on the knowledge of his Northern Irish cast and crew to recreate the tensions surrounding an Irish Republican Army (Ira) funeral in his new film Shadow Dancer.

The Oscar-winning moviemaker wanted to stage an authentic burial ceremony for a terrorist and admits he had little information because they were low-key affairs that British troops attempted to shut down as quickly as possible, so he turned to locals who had experienced the sombre send-offs and asked them to help him stage the scene.

He tells Wenn, "We worked with an Irish crew and some Northern Irish actors and crew as well. At certain times of the filming that was very useful. We had to stage an Ira funeral for filming and I didn't quite know how to do it and someone in our crew had been involved in such undertakings and he explained what we should do and that was what we did in the film.

"There's an interesting ritual that takes place in those funerals. They are outlawed and therefore when they happen, they happen quickly and the security would come and try to shut them down.

"The big objective of the Ira was to honour the dead and the dead colleague by firing over the coffin, and the British troops would always try to stop that happening because it's basically a display of weapons in the street. What would happen is that women would pass the gun amongst themselves in their row and get it to the person who would very quickly go up and shoot over the coffin. That's what happened in real life and that's what we did in the film."


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