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Neil Jordan Claims Ex-Irish PM Wanted Money for Michael Collins Column

Neil Jordan Claims Ex-Irish PM Wanted Money for Michael Collins Column

Michael Collins director Neil Jordan has claimed that ex-Irish leader Garret FitzGerald expected payment from Warner Bros. for penning an op-ed at the time that pushed back against of wave of criticism the political biopic faced.

In a story published on Friday, the Guardian reported that Jordan made the extraordinary claim in his new memoir, Amnesiac: A Memoir by Neil Jordan, that is released on June 20. Michael Collins, a biopic starring Liam Neeson as the early 20th century Irish revolutionary leader, was released in 1996. Before and after the film’s release, Jordan was widely criticized in his native Ireland by historians and politicians for his liberal approach to the historical record, particularly the deaths of Harry Boland and Ned Broy, and the depiction of Collins.

FitzGerald, who twice served as Taoiseach of Ireland from 1981 to 1982 and 1982 to 1987, penned an op-ed in the Irish Times in September 1996 defending Michael Collins. The Guardian reports that FitzGerald’s op-ed said, “By any standards, the film is a triumph, and for many Irish people viewing it, is likely to prove a deeply moving experience.” FitzGerald’s column also pushed back against the historical inaccuracies accusations against the film, by suggesting that Michael Collins captured the mood and spirit of the time. “Neil Jordan merits our applause, and our gratitude,” FitzGerald wrote.

In a lengthy interview with the Guardian, Jordan recounts meeting FitzGerald after the article was published and thanking him. “That reminds me, I must send in an invoice, I still haven’t been paid,” FitzGerald said, according to Jordan.

“By the Irish Times?” Jordan asked. “No,” FitzGerald allegedly replied, “by Warner Bros.”

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In the interview with the Guardian, Jordan says he was “shocked” by FitzGerald’s suggestion. “I don’t want to besmirch the man’s reputation but that conversation is exactly as it happened.”

Speaking to the Guardian, FitzGerald dismissed the notion that his father, who was widely known for his probity, would make a claim for payment. “There is no conceivable way he would have done such a thing. There wasn’t a pound note in his head. He had a humility about his personal self. The public and private man were very similar,” Mark FitzGerald said.

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