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This movie won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

‘The Crying Game’ (R)

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 18, 1992

IRISH filmmaker Neil Jordan is briefly in New York to talk about his latest film, "The Crying Game" (see review on Page 50). It's an intriguing yarn, full of unexpected developments that cannot be given away. It starts off as a political thriller, with IRA gunmen and a black British hostage played by Forest Whitaker. Then it shifts gears into more romantic and sexual themes.

"It's just a story really," says the man who has spent his adult life writing novels and making movies such as "Mona Lisa," "High Spirits" and "The Miracle."

The movie "started with the violent stuff I'm familiar with in Ireland," says Jordan. Then, "I just developed it as it went along. I wanted the second part to be a mirror image of the first part -- the same emotional sequences, but in a different context . . . The more outrageous the shifts, the more extreme the narrative movements, the more fascinated I became."

Sorry, can't reveal much more than that.

Whitaker's casting was highly intentional, Jordan says, "because of those multiple ironies -- the situation of a black soldier in Northern Ireland."

It's the kind of movie that Jordan could only have done independently. Funding for the movie came primarily from European sources. Although the budget was modest, Jordan had creative control -- unlike his two "arduous" and "botched up" Hollywood experiences with "High Spirits" and "We're No Angels."

In "Spirits," a dreadful comedy with Peter O'Toole and Steve Guttenberg, Jordan simply turned his back on the project before it was even edited. In "We're No Angels," Jordan directed Robert De Niro to play too expansively and the movie, he feels, was badly marketed.

After that, he says, "I wanted to do something very personal." So he made "The Miracle," a fantasy drama laced with Oedipal elements and starring romantic associate Beverly D'Angelo.

Jordan says his early independent works, which included "Angel," "The Company of Wolves" and "Mona Lisa," were "levels of fantasy. I tend to try and push movies into that kind of realm."

His latest, despite similarities with his previous films, is "probably the realest film I've done."

In addition to a novel he's writing about Ireland's political neutrality during World War II, prolific Jordan's movie plans include "Jonathan Wild," based on the Henry Fielding novel, which he calls "a gangster movie in 18th-century London," and a film about Irish prewar political figure Michael Collins.

"I write a lot of scripts, you know?"

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