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McDonagh gets his head around America with 'Seven Psychopaths'

BY GEORGE LANG glang@opubco.com Modified: October 15, 2012 at 11:46 pm •  Published: October 17, 2012
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/articleid/3719481/1/pictures/1858758">Photo - Woody Harrelson, left, and Christopher Walken in a scene from "Seven Psychopaths."
CBS FILMS PHOTO <strong>Chuck Zlotnick</strong>
Woody Harrelson, left, and Christopher Walken in a scene from "Seven Psychopaths." CBS FILMS PHOTO Chuck Zlotnick

“After ‘In Bruges,' Colin and I said we'd definitely want to work together on a film thing, so that was always in the back of my head, and I've always liked Sam Rockwell for a very long time, and I did a play with him and Christopher Walken a few years ago, so it was a no-brainer to ask them to do it,” he said. “Woody Harrelson goes a long way back, too, and I almost worked with Tom Waits on a stage musical, but it didn't quite follow through.”

As he has incorporated more American settings and characters into his stories, McDonagh's other main transition has been his move from stage to film. Beginning in the 1990s, McDonagh received acclaim for his “Leenane Trilogy” of plays and his “Aran Islands” trilogy, and his stage work continues to be popular, but he said that film work helped expand how he looked at storytelling.

“To write a film, you have to get your head around a vaster canvas,” McDonagh said. “You know, you can jump around in time and geography, whereas with a play it's almost all dialogue and conversations go on for pages and pages, and they don't really jump around in time or place. That was the biggest thing: to keep all those balls in the air with some kind of skill.

“I think now, I almost feel more comfortable with film now, and I need to rework those playwriting muscles for when I go back to it,” he said.


“To write a film, you have to get your head around a vaster canvas. You know, you can jump around in time and geography, whereas with a play it's almost all dialogue and conversations go on for pages and pages, and they don't really jump around in time or place. That was the biggest thing: to keep all those balls in the air with some kind of skill.”

Martin McDonagh

Filmmaker

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