Sep 02, 2008
The gala premiere of DDA production designer Eve Stewart’s latest
film, Fifty Dead Men Walking, will go
ahead at the Toronto International Film Festival, after a legal dispute
threatened its release.
Canadian helmer Kari
Skogland (Liberty Stands Still, The Stone Angel)
directs a tense story inspired by the shocking real-life events detailed in
Martin McGartland’s autobiography. In the sweeping yet highly personal
political thriller, Across the Universe
star Jim Sturgess plays McGartland, a Belfast
lad who spied on the IRA for the British Police in the late 80s.
rose through the ranks of the IRA while feeding intelligence to the British
Special Branch. After being caught and tortured by the IRA, he dramatically
escaped and remains in hiding today.
The reticent and untraceable
McGartland appeared in The Hollywood Reporter on Aug. 22 explaining his moral
and legal objections about the “false and distorted account of what took
place.” On Aug. 26 however, production companies Future Films and HandMade
Films International said, "In response to reports in The Hollywood
Reporter, the film's partners have confirmed that any queries relating to the
legitimacy of the film are unfounded and that due process has been followed
throughout the production." The festival bow received an all clear.
The film’s contentious
subject matter is generating intrigue around its imminent release, as it has
not yet been available to members of the press.
The film also stars Ben
Kinglsey, Rose McGowan, Kevin Zegers and Nathalie Press.
designer Eve Stewart brings an innate sensitivity to all of her work, informed
by exhaustive grassroots research. As the filming took place on location in Belfast,
Stewart retained an awareness of her responsibility. “This was both a joy and a
pressure as I was so determined not to do any of those communities involved any
disservice,” she says. “I worked incredibly hard to ask those who had been
directly involved for their truths.
“My overall approach to the
design was to accurately represent a hard existence in a troubled state; to
show that it was to all intents and purposes viewed as a war on the streets.
This I hoped to convey through the grey hard and scarred surfaces of the city,
with its warm secret spaces where all manner of deals and whispers occurred,
where the humanity or angry inhumanity was free to take hold.”
Dead Men Walking also represents Stewart’s first time working with director
Skogland. “I blooming loved it,” she says. “[Skogland] is gutsy and real, her
heart and soul were poured into this project. Even with all the political
difficulties she told a story with great style and truth.”
association with British film luminaries including Mike Leigh, Guy Ritchie and
Terry Gilliam has placed her at the forefront of production design in world
cinema. Prior to Fifty Dead Men Walking, she
designed the Jane Austen biopic Becoming
Jane and Revolver, starring Jason
Statham and Ray Liotta
She has worked on six of
Leigh’s films since 1990, when she first created the Thin Man logo for his
breakthrough Life is Sweet feature.
Other credits include De-Lovely for
director/producer Irwin Winkler, Nicholas
Nickleby for writer/director Douglas McGrath and Saving Grace for director Nigel Cole.
In 2006 Stewart received the
Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie and a Best
Production Design BAFTA nomination for her work on HBO TV’s Elizabeth I. Her contribution to De-Lovely earned her the Golden
Satellite Award for Best Art Direction in 2005 and she was nominated for a Best
Art Direction Academy Award in 1999 for Leigh’s lavishly detailed Gilbert and Sullivan
biopic Topsy Turvy.
The Gala Presentation of Fifty Dead Men Walking is scheduled for
Wed., Sep. 10 at 9:30 p.m. at the Roy Thomson Hall, followed by a public
screening on Thurs., Sep. 11 at 9:00a.m at the Ryerson Theater.
The Toronto International
Film Festival runs Sep. 4-13. For more information about tickets and locations
please visit the Toronto International Film Festival website at www.tiff08.ca.
Dattner Dispoto and
Associates’ cinematographers, Robert Gantz, Giles Nuttgens, Peter Donahue,
Maryse Alberti and Sam Levy, along
with production designer Phillip Barker, will also have films screened at the
festival this year.