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Veronica guerin presskit

Veronica Guerin
was reporting on would make,” he continues.
“That bravery and courage ultimately made an PRODUCTION INFORMATION
enormous difference to her country—without her,it would be a different place.” In the mid-1990s, Dublin was nothing short One of Ireland’s top journalists during the of a war zone, with a few powerful drug lords 1990s, Guerin’s stories focused her nation’s battling for control. Their most fearsome opponent attention on the rising problem of heroin use in was not the police but the courageous journalist Dublin. Painting a vivid picture of a dangerous Veronica Guerin (CATE BLANCHETT), who covered world that perhaps many in the country had not the crime beat with unmatched intensity. As she yet focused upon, Guerin became the sworn investigated and exposed the “pushers,” enemy of the city’s underworld, ultimately balancing her home and family against her galvanizing the anti-drug forces and leading to responsibility to her readers and her country, she stronger drug laws in Ireland. “I like to tell stories became a national folk heroine to the people of about individuals who make a difference in the Ireland. Based on a true story, this powerful, world and are role models for future generations,” emotional film from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Bruckheimer continues. “To me, that’s Veronica producer of “Pearl Harbor” and “Black Hawk Guerin. She is one of those people who changed Down,” and director Joel Schumacher (“Phone Ireland and the way people thought about drugs Booth,” “Bad Company,” “A Time to Kill,” and criminals. She is a person that other “Falling Down,” “Tigerland”), gives unique insight into a fascinating and complex aspect of the Irish “I don’t think Veronica saw herself as being conflict and a poignant portrayal of a journalist anything unique underneath,” says Cate Blanchett, who risked everything in search of the truth.
who plays the journalist. “I think she was The Touchstone Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer incredibly humble about what she was doing. I Films production “Veronica Guerin” was filmed on location in and around Dublin. The film is directed humanity. But humans are flawed, and that’s what by Joel Schumacher. Screenplay by Carol Doyle and Mary Agnes Donoghue. Story by Carol Doyle.
“This is a global story,” says Schumacher.
“The drug war is global and any story with a hero producers are Chad Oman, Mike Stenson and Ned or heroine is universal, regardless of whether it is Dowd. The film stars Academy Award® nominee period or contemporary or takes place in another Cate Blanchett, Gerard McSorley, Ciaran Hinds, country. Veronica Guerin’s story tells of someone and Academy Award® winner Brenda Fricker.
who doesn’t back down, who does something that “This is a story about personal courage,” ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
echoes screenwriter Mary Agnes Donoghue.
“Veronica Guerin said, ‘No, I’m not going to turn “The story of Veronica Guerin isn’t a small away.’ Afterwards, some people said she was a story. It isn’t meaningful just to people in Ireland.
saint and brave; others say she was naïve and Her story shows the reason why people want to foolish. I don’t think she was any of those things.
become journalists,” says Jerry Bruckheimer, I think she was someone who just took them on.” producer of “Veronica Guerin.” One of Hollywood’s Leading the cast of “Veronica Guerin” is top producers, Bruckheimer’s vast credits include Academy Award® nominee Cate Blanchett. “Cate the recent films “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Blanchett was our only choice for Veronica,” says Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Remember the Joel Schumacher. “She’s so brilliant in the role Titans,” “Pearl Harbor,” and “Black Hawk Down.” that I don’t know whether I would have made the film if she had said no—I didn’t have anybody else frightened, no matter what threats the people she everyone’s varying opinions of her lies the truth of Bruckheimer. “She did an enormous amount of research. It’s a great actress who has the ability to Together with the help of Joel Schumacher, Blanchett pieced together a portrait of Veronica When she was approached for the part, the Guerin as the story of a tough, uncompromising Australian-born actress knew very little about the journalist: someone who was not a saint, just Irish journalist. But during the course of her research, Blanchett unearthed a “complex, happening in their hometown where criminals passionate and extraordinary human being,” she were flooding the streets with heroin and getting away with murder. “Veronica had a very strong sense of moral outrage at the impotence of the characters I play,” Blanchett continues. “I don’t justice system to actually convict the people who fall in love with them just as I don’t despise them.
were patently guilty,” Blanchett says.
There is no value in doing that. I think it is very easy, with the wisdom of hindsight, for people who turned to Guerin’s home country to round out the don’t participate, those on the sidelines, to ensemble. “Veronica Guerin” was made on moralize about the people who are at the center of location in Dublin with a largely Irish cast. “It’s life. Something Veronica once said in an interview, really been an eye-opener,” says Bruckheimer.
I find inspiring: ‘You can’t solve a problem until “There are so many brilliant Irish stage and film you understand it.’ That was one of the keys to her actors who don’t really get exposure in America.
I’ve seen many actors that I want to work with Blanchett spent a month in Dublin prior to the shooting of the movie, meeting friends and “The city has some great architecture, but colleagues of Veronica Guerin and talking to family more importantly, it has one of the finest stables of actors and actresses in the world,” Joel journalist, read Guerin’s articles from the archives, listened to radio interviews, and perfected her Throughout her career as a crime reporter, Dublin accent. Piece by piece, she came closer Guerin steered a dangerous passage between her and closer to understanding Veronica Guerin’s work and her family life. “There is a very loving, motivation, determination, and commitment to a strong home life established in the movie so that cause. “She was a people person and she had a there is so much at stake, so much that could be strong belief in her ability to reason with people.
lost,” says Barry Barnes, who plays Veronica’s In one of the interviews she said everybody has a husband, Graham. “Veronica weighs this, but human side, that they have a family, which humanizes them. So she had this very strong belief, which ultimately led her into very responsibilities to her husband, Graham, her dangerous places, that she could reason her way mother, Bernadette, and her son, Cathal. But she also has a job to do. “Graham sees what’s going on, obviously knows how dangerous it is, but Blanchett had to look at a series of complex realizes that he can’t stop Veronica,” Barnes says.
relationships. “Veronica was a phenomenal life “He sees that she is obsessed with her work and is force. I met so many people who were touched by not going to stop for anything. He possibly could her, who felt intimate with her or that she had give her an ultimatum, but I think he might be changed them in some way. She was controversial afraid that he might lose her. The other choice is and there were many opinions, speculations, and to accept that she is going to do it and try, to some rumors about her and her work and that is extent, to keep away from the edge of the cliff.” incredible for me as an actor. Somewhere between For Barnes, the gender role-reversal was an important lure to the role. “We have seen hundreds of films where there’s a man who takes built up a gang of efficient, brutal criminals and on the bad guys and there’s a woman who fears for had quietly amassed a small fortune through his his safety. We, the audience, experience a lot of drug operations. He was also a man with a very our concerns for him through her. It’s not often that you see a reversal of that, which is exactly journalists or the media. Despite repeated Another major influence in Veronica Guerin’s requests by Guerin, he refused to be interviewed life was her mother, Bernadette, who is played by and he repeatedly warned Traynor to stay away Academy Award®-winning actress Brenda Fricker.
from the journalist. The last thing Gilligan wanted Always proud of her bold, fearless daughter, Bernie still urged Veronica to realize that Gerard McSorley plays the crime boss. The “sometimes it’s braver to walk away.” After actor briefly contemplated visiting John Gilligan in Veronica’s death, Guerin was a strong backer of Portlaoise prison, but eventually decided against the National Union of Journalists’ campaign for the meeting, reasoning that his portrayal should reform of the libel laws, pointing out that be more an impression than an impersonation. “I journalists act in the public interest and should thought that even if I did wear a wig and try to not be prevented from serving that interest by make myself look exactly like John Gilligan, that wasn’t the point,” he says. “It was moremeaningful to try and understand the Guerin’s main underworld contact was John psychological life of the man and a bit of his Traynor, a man infatuated with the seedy glamour background, which would help me to understand of his chosen profession and seduced by its the extreme volatility of his nature. Ultimately, at dubious celebrity status. Irish actor Ciaran Hinds the end of the day, you’re doing a movie, not a plays Traynor, the cog in boss John Gilligan’s machine. “It’s the fame game,’’ says Hinds. “It Also appearing in a brief cameo is Irish actor was part of Traynor’s ego to be in the limelight. It’s a sign of Traynor’s complete incompetence at thegame; if he was at all astute, he’d be invisible, like Gilligan. Gilligan accuses Traynor of wanting to be became the other key character in telling Veronica a film star and brings him down a peg.” Guerin’s story. “I can’t imagine telling this story Traynor was a key operative in Gilligan’s anywhere else except Dublin,” he says. “You have gang. “Traynor was involved with a number of to go to the real places and try to give the gangs because he operated the money laundering audience a sense of what really happened.” and was involved in fencing the money,’’ Hinds “You have to be honest; you have to be true says. No stranger to law enforcement, Traynor had to your story,” says Bruckheimer. “The only way to been convicted of breaking and entering, fraud, do that is to be true to the location. This story firearms possession, and handling stolen goods.
takes place in Dublin; Dublin is the only place we “He obviously had a very astute mind for that kind could shoot it. Not only that, but we did it with an of thing, and the different gangs needed him.
Irish cast and crew. The only foreigners on this Occasionally he would clash with Gilligan – and he production were Cate, Joel and myself. The rest knew how mad Gilligan was.” In spite of this, either live here or have worked here.” Traynor continued to put Gilligan and the rest of the gang into his confessions to Guerin that would shooting of “Veronica Guerin,” from seedy appear in black and white every Sunday. “He was brothels and run-down neighborhoods where the a braggart and very vain,” says Hinds. deals were done and gang members assassinated In contrast to Traynor in every way was John to the higher-class world where Veronica Guerin Gilligan, a career criminal whose first conviction works and lives with her family. For production was at the age of fifteen. Over the years, he had designer Nathan Crowley, this presented an unusual challenge. “We had about three times the Most of the action away from the newspaper number of locations than most films I have worked took place on the street, and filming involved on,” he says. “That was a real challenge. So we glimpses into the gang’s apartments, casino’s got over that by trying to make groupings of innards and brothels. “Everywhere we went with locations in areas. Otherwise, it would have meant the camera we show glimpses of this underworld— moving the unit twice a day for over ninety casinos, brothels, cellars,” says Crowley. Away from the front line, from the gang’s “Most of this movie takes place outside, so hangouts, was Gilligan’s country residence. This we wanted to convey the sense that you’re in a was Jessbrook equestrian centre, a $6.6 million major city,” says Crowley. “That was very complex on 300 acres that was the gangster’s important. We also wanted to show a really dark tacky paradise. “I tried to find somewhere that was really gaudy,” Crowley says of Gilligan’s home.
architecture and the Liffey and that tourist image “These people had lots of money, no values and of the city. It was important to go over to the North side of the city—that’s where most of these These people were people like “Fatso” locations are and where Veronica Guerin worked.” Mitchell, Paul “Hippo” Ward, “The Monk,” Crowley worked with director of photography “Dutchie” Holland—gang members whose dress Brendan Galvin to achieve a gritty look. “The style sense was as gaudy as their cartoon pseudonyms.
of the film came about out of necessity for telling For costume designer Joan Bergin, who vividly the story in a real way,” Galvin says. “To some remembers the period, the challenge was to people gritty means that you have a hand-held recreate the recent past without stepping over the camera and it is shot like a documentary. I don’t line that separates character from caricature.
think that would have been right for this movie.
In dressing the gangsters, she delved into We had two cameras all the time in this film and true-life accounts of Gilligan’s gang. “With it helped the actors, the continuity and the story.
gangster movies the trick is to avoid making them It was a very efficient way to tell this story.” all look like a Mafiosi family. There are some very “We wanted overcast skies,” adds Crowley.
good current books on Gilligan’s gang and their “We went for very reflective surfaces and we were background. There is a big funeral scene in the always looking for streets and locations that made movie which in a way is the ultimate expression of Dublin feel like a big city. We wanted to show the how the gang dressed. Gilligan, in real life, used to get very angry if they wore flashy clothes and didn’t dress in what he considered to be conservative good taste. He felt you drew attention resemble most newsrooms as seen in modern motion pictures. Working closely with key staff at In researching the gang—how they thought, the Sunday Independent newspaper, Crowley what clothes they wore, what hangouts they rebuilt the labyrinthine maze that was the favored—Bergin unearthed some interesting newspaper’s offices. “You think of newspaper details. “We found out that the gang used to go offices as a big open space like those scenes from along and leave wads of money in certain clothing movies, but the Sunday Independent newsroom shops around Henry Street and Talbot Street. Then was this warren of hacked around partitions and these guys would put ‘looks’ together for the offices and pipes and wires,” he says. “It’s more various gang members. It’s almost like somebody’s like something out of the movie ‘Brazil.’ We vision of what a hip person dresses like, rather wanted to get that sense of confusion everywhere, than how that person might actually dress. that sense of clutter. It’s amazing when you go into the Sunday Independent—there’s just stacks of Guerin, who worked with criminals, politicians and the police force. “Veronica used to work in PR andwas very careful about how she dressed,” Bergin says. “I spoke to lots of different people who knew world of journalism. “I think she eventually found her and she would never go into the Sunday something that she was happy with,” Jimmy Independent unless in a suit and trousers. That was part of her charm and made people notice her.
Before she started writing for the Sunday If she was on a stakeout and living on chicken and Independent, Veronica Guerin had already carved chips, she would be in jeans. People said of her that when all the other journalists did their work groundbreaking investigative journalist. As a writer by telephone she was like the old Chandler novel with the Sunday Business Post and the Sunday hero, face-to-face. I tried to show that charisma Tribune newspapers, she had scored a number of major scoops including an interview with acontroversial Irish bishop who had disappeared to THE VERONICA GUERIN STORY
South America and an exclusive inside report onthe multi-million-dollar Beit art robbery.
Inevitably, Guerin’s tenacity and increasingly high class community of Artane on Dublin’s Northside profile attracted the attention of the country’s top- on July 5, 1959. She was the second-youngest in selling newspaper, The Sunday Independent. a family of three girls and two boys. Her father Christopher ran his own accountancy firm in the published in the Sunday Independent. Willie city, while her mother, Bernadette, ran the family.
Kealy, Guerin’s news editor at the newspaper, Jimmy, the youngest in the Guerin family, recalls that Guerin initially worked many beats— was very close to his big sister, a gregarious, both features and hard news—but increasingly she tomboyish girl who helped her little brother with began to work on crime stories. “The fact that she his homework and fixed him up with his first specialized in crime was more by accident than girlfriend. “There wasn’t really that thing of an design,” Kealy says. “But it was what she turned older sibling because Veronica was only a year out to be best at and what she enjoyed most. It older,” Jimmy Guerin recalls. “Veronica was more was also an area that had not been covered very of a friend, and she was great in many ways. She well in Irish journalism; it was covered in a very formulaic way. Veronica was different. She bucked the system, shook it, and exposed the untouchable even then, was sure of herself and her ability.
criminal underworld that the government couldn’t “When she set out to do something, she became the best at it. She started playing basketball and Guerin was a maverick investigator with an she was European basketballer of the year. She instinctive nose for a good story. Every Sunday, her played soccer for the Republic of Ireland and was articles on the Dublin crime scene and the city’s a top scorer with the team. She had that ability to spiraling heroin problem attracted more and more readers. Guerin had, in a relatively short time, After graduating, Veronica worked for a brief become one of Ireland’s most recognized and time at her father Christopher’s accountancy firm.
famous journalists, a celebrity of sorts who In 1982, she was appointed to the governing body of the National Institute of Higher Education, and the following year was appointed by the Taoiseach Veronica Guerin’s investigative technique (Irish Prime Minister) to work as an assistant to was certainly unusual in a time when most Irish the Fianna Fail delegation to the New Ireland journalists got their stories by telephone or Forum negotiations. Later, she set up her own through press conferences. She was a foot soldier, public relations company. In 1985, she married someone who worked on the ground and got the Graham Turley and the couple had a son, Cathal, details firsthand as she met her informants face- in 1990. Family life was happy and stable but to-face. She fostered key contacts in both the Irish increasingly Veronica was being drawn towards the police force, the Gardai, and in Dublin’s criminal underworld. It was there she met John Traynor and Press Freedom Award, the first journalist from through him, his boss, John Gilligan.
Western Europe to be so honored. When she “Veronica was one of our most high profile returned to Dublin, Guerin continued to work on journalists with this fantastic investigative ability,” says Anne Harris, deputy editor at the newspaper and friend of Veronica. “In time, she became stopped at a set of traffic lights on the outskirts of Ireland’s most respected journalist, and yet there Dublin. A motorcyclist pulled up alongside her car was no fact too small or too humble for her to and the pillion passenger pumped six bullets into check out for somebody else. She was incredibly the journalist’s body. Veronica Guerin, who was on generous with her work time and in her attitude.” her car phone at the time, vainly grabbed for the passenger door but died shortly afterwards. As the further into a lethal vortex. Her main contact was news of her murder spread through the country John Traynor, a self-confessed criminal who was like a bushfire, people struggled to cope.
infatuated with his own criminal sheen and the “My first thoughts were to find my mother,” dubious celebrity status he got from being printed Jimmy Guerin recalls of the moment he heard that in black and white every Sunday. Traynor’s boss, his sister had been murdered. “I have very clear John Gilligan, had no love of the limelight, and he memories of that day. I can recall literally every warned his confederate to curtail his contact with second for you. Trying to keep a calm face about the journalist. In turn, Traynor warned Guerin to you was probably one of the hardest things of all.” Sunday Independent editor Aengus Fanning had just arrived in London when his son phoned balaclava called to Veronica Guerin’s front door him with the news. He immediately returned to and shot her in the leg. It was her first serious Dublin and a media barrage. A special tribute warning and it sent shockwaves through the media edition of the Sunday Independent was set in world and the Sunday Independent.
motion and that weekend’s newspaper carried a photograph of Veronica Guerin on the cover with a certainly got worried about her,” Willie Kealy two-word headline: “Citizen Journalist.” recalls. “That was unprecedented, but I don’t think it occurred to anybody that she would get journalism in the world isn’t worth a single life,” killed. It didn’t occur to us; it didn’t occur to her; Willie Kealy says. “But of course, the changes to it didn’t occur to her family; it didn’t occur to the the law that were effected only came about after most senior police from whom we constantly took her death and possibly only because of it. You advice before then and since. The reality of that could look at it as some good coming out of it. She never dawned on anybody because nobody thought left a legacy and she will never be forgotten in this that it would happen. Nobody thought that to country for her achievements. She did her job as protect an income, criminals would actually kill a she should have done it and for that she was journalist because they were getting a lot of The legacy of Veronica Guerin’s brutal death was immediate and considerable. “It forced Veronica’s style of operating,” he continues. “She politicians to take notice,” Kealy says. “There was was doing perhaps what other reporters should a media campaign as well. But mainly it was the have been doing at the time. That was the only spontaneous public outcry that forced politicians way in which it was different. It was certainly a to look at the law that allowed serious organized contrast with those who got a press release or criminal gangs to act with impunity. So they gave made a phone call and wrote a story. It is a style I new powers to the police and set up a special would still encourage a journalist to use today.” agency called the Criminal Assets Bureau, which In December 1995, Veronica Guerin traveled put the onus on the criminal to show where the to New York to be presented with the International money came from. If they could not demonstrate their means, it was taken from them. Apart fromlocking up criminals for a very long time when theydeserve it, there is no better place to hit a criminalthan in his pocket, because money is everything tothem.” “Veronica Guerin is now an icon,” her former boss and Sunday Independent editor, AengusFanning, says. “Her memorial is on display inDublin Castle and she has become a symbol ofcourage. She is a symbol for all as a woman whotriumphed and succeeded in a man’s world. Sheleft behind her some major changes in ourcriminal legislation which have made the task ofthe police, not easier, but it has enabled them tobe somewhat more effective.” sister will never fade. “We were very close,” hesays. “But the reality is that everybody has lostsomeone. A mother has lost a daughter, siblingshave lost a sister, a husband has lost a wife, a sonhas lost a mother. You miss the fun and the totallunacy that she would bring to a party or agathering. Veronica was someone who wouldalways be there for you.”

Source: http://www.ciaranhinds.eu/pdf/guerin.pdf

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