"Men on bicycles, said Collins. - That's what I need. Good men on bicycles.
- I don't have one, I told him.
- I'm only after buying you the suit, he said. - So you can manage the fuckin' rothar yourself."
- A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle
In 1920 Michael Collins set up a covert group of hitmen who's sole job was to track down and kill English G-Men and spies during the Irish War Of Independence. These unknown men were referred to as 'The Squad.'
Vultures writing assignment and it's going to be a feature screenplay, the first one I've worked on in over 2 years.
I've been working on a variety of different projects over the past few years and the vast majority of them have always had a deadline in place so it's always been an eyes on the prize, get down and do it kind of mentality. So once Vultures is in the can, I'd like to turn to something that I can write at a leisurely pace without any consideration of deadlines or budgets or logistics.
I haven't written a screenplay since Suckers in 2006 and I've never written a feature that hasn't been produced by Young Irish Film Makers. Screenplays were the first things I'd ever wrote and the first things I'd taught myself how to write. As a 14 year old I'd grab any screenplays I could, studying the structure and copying the formatting in order to teach myself how to write movies. It was my first love in writing and it's pretty much remained so. With Y.I.F.M I got the chance to write 5 features between 2001 and 2006 (Skegs and Skangers, the unproduced Holy Terrors, Lily's Bad Day, Eliza Mayflower and Suckers). I was lucky in a way because no one else up there was writing screenplays so the path was usually clear for me to submit stuff and make all the mistakes I needed to learn from. But the biggest stroke of luck was that a whippersnapper such as myself got the opportunity to do so.
So now the first project I'm working on of my own steam is hopefully going to get rid of my screenwriting rust and allow me to indulge in something extremely cinematic. Frankly, I can't wait to get back into it.
It's also the first time I've co-written a screenplay with someone so it's going to be a new experience all round. Working with Paddy Dunne on Vultures has just been invaluable in terms of honing and developing material, not to mention the fact that the inherent loneliness of the writer is made all the easier when there's someone else with you. This time I'm working with a very fine writer and actor by the name of Peter McGann who appears in Vultures as student lawyer Matt McLoughlin.
The feature is a comic actioner called The Hellfire Squad. And yup, it's based on the origins of the 12 men who made up Michael Collins hit squad during the War Of Independence. We have our characters mapped out and a treatment in place so I'm looking forward to tucking into it come next spring. Right now, it's research time. And after Bansheeville, I'm again getting to indulge my love for Irish history.
And when will The Hellfire Squad see the light of day? Who knows? And right now, that's the way uh huh uh huh I like it. Uh huh uh huh.