Sheridan weighs pix options

Director Jim Sheridan is considering a number of projects for his next feature foray, among them a personal story about a distant relative who fought and defeated American Indian tribes.

As “In the Name of the Father” draws critical accolades across the country, the Irish-born director is taking a breather to ruminate on the future and on the effect that his latest film might have on talks between the British government and the Irish Republican Army. The film is a somewhat fictionalized account of the jailing and subsequent release of the Guilford four.

“If this film does have any effect, hopefully it will be for the good,” Sheridan said during a recent trip to L.A. “Anything that can help stop the violence is good. I think everyone realizes now that I made an anti-violence film.”

Before it was widely released, Sheridan and the film’s stars received a good deal of criticism from the British press, who attacked them for promoting IRA violence. Now there will be a special showing of “Father” on Feb. 1 to an inter-party committee in the House of Commons.

Even though Sheridan is best known as a director, his first love is as a writer. “Writing comes first, directing second,” he said.

Which is why he is considering writing his next film project, a story about Philip Sheridan, a general who conquered Indian tribes.

“I’m scared to do it, though,” he said. “This is a story about a man who beat them all, but they might come after me,” he added, with a twinkle in his eye. “You know, the Irish nation is the only nation that the Indians forgave. It was the Indians who gave the biggest during the famine in Ireland.”

He’s not made any commitment to such a project yet, as he’s also considering two other scripts, one that tells a fictionalized account of the 1916 Easter Monday rebellion in Ireland. He’s also been approached to direct “Yellow Handkerchief,” a love story in development on the Universal lot.

Sources have reported that Universal is very interested in backing a Sheridan-directed project, as the studio has been in the background on both the Easter rebellion and “Yellow Handkerchief” projects.

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