The Movies & Me: John Michael McDonagh


Welcome to our new feature, The Movies & Me. In this monthly feature, we will be talking with the biggest names in film to find out their loves & loathings of the cinematic world.

Leading Irish writer/director whose film debut, the black comedy The Guard, saw him hit the film industry with balls and humour aplenty. Brother of In Bruges writer/director Michael McDonagh, they were raised in London by their Irish parents. His first big achievement was to scribe the underrated Ned Kelly in 2003 before he moved on to The Guard which went on to become the most financially successful independent Irish film of all time. His latest film Calvary sees him re-team with Brendan Gleeson to follow the story of Father James Lavelle after he is threatened during confession, and the forces of darkness begin to close in around him. Following rave reviews for his first two features, John Michael McDonagh is the boldest and most exciting talent working today.



What was your first cinema trip?

A revival of Pinocchio. When we were very young, my mother brought myself and my brother to see it at the Odeon Cinema in Elephant & Castle. My brother started crying when Pinocchio was swallowed by the whale, Monstro, because he’s a pussy.

Which film do you wish you had seen at the cinema and why?

When I was about eight, I tried to get into a double-bill of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and Assault on Precinct 13, but I was refused admittance for being underage. My entire life might have been different if I’d seen those two films at that age.


What is your most memorable cinema experience?

Seeing the head appear in the hole in the boat in Jaws and hearing an entire audience scream.

What was the last film which made you cry?

I never cry. I choke it down. That’s what men are supposed to do.


Which film is your guilty pleasure?

Julien Temple’s Absolute Beginners. I remember it being absolutely slated in the British press, but I loved it at the time, and still have a lot of affection for it.

What film can always make you laugh out loud?

Preston Sturges’  The Lady Eve.


What is your favourite cinema snack?

I hate cinema snacks, and I hate listening to fucking idiots munching away when they’re not even hungry, they’ve just been programmed.

Have you ever walked out of a film?

When I was younger, I made of a point of always staying to the end of a movie, no matter how poor, just to show a modicum of respect to the filmmakers. But now I’ll leave after thirty minutes if the film is a piece of shit. Life’s too short for bad movies.


Was there a certain film/actor/director that inspired you  to go into film?

Terrence Malick’s Badlands, Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter, and the early collaborations between Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro.

What film are you most looking forward to in 2014?

Actually, I have a few: Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac Vols I & II, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and Jason Bateman’s Bad Words.


John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary gets a nationwide release on 11th April. The Guard is available online on LoveFilm and DVD. Follow his production company Reprisal Films on Twitter here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s