Meet our screenwriter, Colin Broderick — an acclaimed memoirist, playwright and columnist. He has teamed up with Kevin McCann to bring THE RISING, the first full-length cinematic feature about Easter 1916 to the big screen.
Originally from County Tyrone, Colin Broderick grew up during the Troubles. He details his experiences in his stirring memoir of his childhood and adolescence, entitled That’s That, published by Random House in 2013. (You can hear a great interview with Colin from 2013 on NPR here.)
In 1988, at the age of twenty, he moved to the Bronx in order to — as he puts it on his website — “drink, work construction, and pursue his dream of becoming a writer.” His searing memoir, Orangutan, published in 2009, chronicles his own story of a harrowing struggle with addiction and “the harrowing truth about the modern Irish immigrant experience.” Set in the unforgiving terrain of New York City, we follow his journey towards hope and redemption.
Broderick has written a thoughtful piece on his blog about how he came to the screenplay for THE RISING. Similar to his memoirs, bringing Easter 1916 to screen has become a deeply personal endeavour. He describes how he first met Kevin McCann, our award-winning director and producer in New York in February 2014 after a performance of his play, Father Who:
I met Kevin McCann that night. We talked. What I liked about him right away was his seriousness. This guy was not messing around. He was like a man possessed. You meet them once in awhile. Most are obsessed about all the wrong things, many of them you might consider mad. I can identify with that sort of insanity. It appeals to me. In my experience in this line of work, it takes a certain kind of madness to create anything of real lasting importance. I wanted to hear more.
He then turned to learning about the fascinating life of Seán Mac Diarmada. For Broderick, his historical research ignited a spark of inspiration:
I wanted to write this thing so badly I could taste it. The world needed to know who Sean MacDiarmada was. The Irish in particular needed to understand what really happened in 1916 and more importantly, why it happened. This wasn’t an “England-bad. Ireland-good” story, this was a mythical adventure, a hero’s journey, the holy grail, a story about identity, a story of one mans attempt to enlighten a nation to their own spiritual plight. Sean MacDiarmada cared about his country, he cared about Irish people, Catholics and Protestants alike, he believed that each man deserved to feel free to experience joy and hope. Even after he was crippled with polio in his twenties he continued to strive for that perilous vocation. On the night before his execution delirious with triumph he wrote; “I die that the nation may live.”
On a winter’s day in the West Village, Colin and Kevin met for a coffee to discuss this exciting project. On their way home, Kevin stopped to help a woman shovel her car out of the snow-packed city streets, and urged Colin to grab a shovel and give her a hand. At that moment, Colin realised that THE RISING was just like this act of kindness — hard work that needed to be done:
We could just as easily have kept walking, but there was uncomfortable work to be done, work without any reward other than the reward of knowing you had done something decent that needed to be done. I put my bag down too, and we helped her.
You can read the entire blog entry on Colin Broderick’s website, here. You can also follow Colin on Twitter and stay tuned for all his updates on Facebook. Orangutan and That’s That are available at all good book shops.