Pierce Brosnan plays an unemployed man who fights for custody of his daughter, played by Sophie Vavasseur.
How long does it take to put your life on the silver screen? For Evelyn Doyle, the answer is about 15 years.
It was in 1987 that she presented the British Broadcasting Corporation's
Paul Bender with a 30-page synopsis of her father's life, which involved
a dramatic struggle with the Irish government after his children were taken
away because he was an unemployed man whose wife had left him.
Bender produced a script from that synopsis, but it languished without
a producer for many years. In that time, Doyle wrote a best-selling account
of her family's ordeal, but gave up hope on the screenplay. So when Pierce
Brosnan called to tell her he was interested in the project, she thought
it was a joke.
"I thought it was one of my friends pulling my leg. I said to him, 'Bugger
off, I'm watching Star Trek,' " she recalls. "Once I realized that the caller
was serious and it was Brosnan, well, so much for Star Trek."
She was thrilled with the major-league interest in her story, and even more so with the result.
"I'm delighted with the movie. It's a fitting tribute to my father's bravery
in taking on the might of the Catholic Church and the Irish state, in the
days when it took an enormous amount of courage." Doyle, who is obviously
still pinching herself, adds, "It is beyond my wildest dreams that Pierce
Brosnan would play the part of my father."
I ask her for the real low down on the man best known as Bond. "Don't
forget that Pierce is acting when he's Bond," she says. "He's a much more
gentle, kind and sensitive man than Bond." (I had to agree, having had a
close encounter with Brosnan when he was in town for the film fest. I recall
him on his hands and knees, helping me retrieve items from my purse that
had spilled onto the floor during a festival party.)
"Most people perceive him as suave, martini in one hand and a gun in the
other, a one dimensional pretty boy, but it takes a real actor to take on
the role of a real person, especially one whose family are scrutinizing that
Apparently, he passed that test. At the screening, Doyle's brother turned
to her and said "Jesus, that really is the old fella up there."
Despite being awed by Brosnan, Doyle has found some of the media attention
he attracts over the movie hard to take. "For example," she says, "the tabloids
in England invented a row between Pierce and me. I've never had an argument
with Pierce Brosnan."
Even though it was Doyle's mother that caused the whole ordeal, Evelyn
is still sympathetic towards her. "It's not my job to punish her. She was
spoiled, the youngest of a very large family. She couldn't cope with having
a child every year." Still, there is no chance of a reconciliation. "I haven't
seen her in 30 years. I wouldn't be interested in meeting her now -- that's
all in the past. I lost a parent more than 30 years ago: My grief is spent
and I got on with my life."
Doyle is now at work on a sequel to the print version of her story. It's
not an easy task, though, because it's impossible to provide tidy conclusions
to lives still very much in progress. "I hope it will satisfy the need for
closure in the minds of the readers who wanted to know what happened next,"
she says. "Life is not Hollywood, and it's not so neatly packaged."