Il Papa Meets Il Bono
“Holy Father, this is Mr. Bono — he’s a pop singer.” With these words the U2 lead singer was introduced to Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in September. Bono and former Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof met with the pope as part of a campaign the two celebrities are promoting to wipe out the Third World Debt. “The pope’s everyday courage amazes me,” said Bono. “As aged as he is and as infirm as he has been, he will hang out with a bunch of aging pop stars.” The pope not only hung out with Bono and Geldof, he also accepted an impromptu offering (see picture above) — a pair of Bono’s signature wraparound shades.
Words from On High
Touched by an Angel star Roma Downey teamed up with fellow Derry native Phil Coulter recently to release a new CD titled Healing Angel. Coulter composed the music and wrote the inspirational tracks on the CD, while Downey lends her dulcet tones to the album. Says the actress: “I was very involved in the selection of material and themes, and in deciding the tone and mood the album should have. Our hope is that the listener will be able to connect emotionally and spiritually with each track, and that this will be a positive and uplifting experience.”
Suite Dreams for Neeson
“You know you’ve arrived,” reads the promotional information for the Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel in Manhattan. One could add the rider: “And you really know you’ve arrived when you have a suite named after you.” Antrim-born actor Liam Neeson knows how that feels; he was honored at a special reception in August when hotelier John Fitzpatrick presented him with a set of keys to the newly-dedicated Liam Neeson Penthouse Suite. The suite (which comprises the main suite and two garden rooms and features assorted memorabilia from Neeson’s career) is available for booking at the Fitzpatrick Grand Central, priced at $2,000 per night for the entire suite, or $1,000 for the main suite and $500 for each garden room.
Erin the Beautiful
Fourteen-year-old Irish American beauty Erin McQuatters, a native of Georgia, was recently selected as “New Model of the Year” by Chanel and Seventeen magazine. The high school freshman beat seven other finalists to win the coveted title, which includes a five-day European tour as part of the prize.
There are a number of Irish movies doing the rounds at the moment, either currently in theaters or due for release in the next couple of months. If you haven’t yet seen Felicia’s Journey, the Atom Egoyan-directed adaptation of William Trevor’s chilling novel, then you’re missing a classic. Felicia (played marvelously by Elaine Cassidy) is a young Irish girl who arrives in England in search of her boyfriend. She’s been rejected by her family, having announced her pregnancy by a most `unsuitable’ boy. With no clue as to her lover’s whereabouts, she’s easy prey for the creepy Mr. Hilditch (Bob Hoskins). Felicia’s story up to her meeting with Hilditch is told in flashback, as is the rather disturbing story of his childhood. When he appears, ready and willing to lend a helping hand, she gratefully accepts, not realizing that he’s definitely not what he appears to be. Cassidy is luminous in the title role and brings just the right amount of naiveté. Released in New York and L.A. on November 12 by Artisan Entertainment, Felicia’s Journey is well worth catching.
Thanksgiving is traditionally a happy families time of the year, so just to disturb the equilibrium a little, the folks from Paramount Pictures are releasing Angela’s Ashes to coincide with the holiday weekend. As readers of the book know, it’s far from plain sailing for the McCourts of Limerick, but director Alan Parker (The Commitments) is reported to have lightened the tone of the story somewhat.
Neil Jordan is back with a love story titled The End of the Affair. Jordan regular Stephen Rea is also back, as Henry Miles, whose wife Sarah (Julianne Moore) abruptly ended an affair with novelist Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes) some two years earlier. When Bendrix seeks her out once more, she fights her feelings, only to discover that she’s seriously ill. Set for release in early December.
Also scheduled to hit screens in early December is Agnes Browne, starring (and directed by) Anjelica Huston in the title role. Huston plays a widowed Dublin mother of seven with one dream: to meet sexy swinger Tom Jones. Based on the best-selling book The Mammy by Brendan O’Carroll, the movie also stars the Welsh singing star as himself and O’Carroll in a small cameo.♦