Sundance Interview: Shadow Dancer Director James Marsh

It’s becoming a tradition for to sit down late during the Sundance Film Festival to talk to director James Marsh about his latest offering. His previous two Sundance movies were both docs, last year’s Project Nim and the Oscar-winning Man on Wire before that. This year, he arrives in Park City with a dramatic feature called Shadow Dancer, adapted by Tom Bradby from his own novel.

Taking place mostly in Belfast Northern Ireland during 1993, it stars Andrea Riseborough as Collette McVeigh, a Northern Irish woman who has become more active in the IRA’s terrorist activities. After a failed bombing attempt, she’s taken in by an MI5 agent, played by Clive Owen, who convinces her to turn against her own people and become an informant for the British government just as the two factions are trying to negotiate a peace treaty.

It’s a slow and quiet film without a lot of dialogue but a riveting story told in an effective way due to Marsh’s skills at storytelling and pacing and the fantastic cinematography work by Rob Hardy. Even more than that, Riseborough’s performance should have a lot of people talking once the film is released and also during awards time, but the film is quite a strong contrast to Marsh’s dialogue-driven documentary work as well as the perfect counterpoint to Steve McQueen’s Hunger.

Here’s’s latest Sundance interview with Marsh, who also talked about some of the other things he’s working on including a heist comedy (!) and the dream doc he’s been trying to get going for a number of years.

Shadow Dancer hasn’t been picked up for distribution yet, but one can expect that should happen soon. Look for our interview with Riseborough, talking about her role in Madonna’s W.E. sometime next week. (You can also watch our previous interview with James Marsh from last year’s Sundance talking about Project Nim here.)


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