Paul McGuiness, the millionaire manager of Irish rock group U2, is teaming up with Michael Colgan, artistic director of Dublin’s Gate Theater, to form a new film production company.
The partnership does not yet have a name and is still in the early planning stage. But McGuiness told Variety that he and Colgan feel that it is an auspicious time for such a venture “in the context of what seems to be a revival of European filmmaking, and certainly of Irish filmmaking.”
The company will be based in Dublin, where both partners live, and will seek to tap into Ireland’s unusually deep talent pool. But it will not restrict itself simply to making “Irish” films – “unless you call films like ‘Interview With the Vampire’ Irish,” said McGuiness, referring to the nationality of its director, Neil Jordan.
“I travel in a pool of people who I meet and talk to all the time in Los Angeles, New York and London. Who knows what kind of films we will make in that spectrum?” McGuiness commented. “You can operate in that international industry from a sophisticated city like Dublin as well as from anywhere else.”
The company will attempt to combine McGuiness’ global contacts and dealmaking savvy with Colgan’s artistic expertise and “extraordinarily deep knowledge of the literary pool and the acting pool in Ireland and internationally,” McGuiness said.
“I think Paul would like to work in L.A., whereas I am more comfortable in Dublin,” said Colgan. “I do believe that there’s a lot of talent here, and Paul would like to be able to bring that talent into a wider arena.”
McGuiness, who started his career as an assistant director, is already involved in the film business through his ownership of a one-third stake in Ireland’s Ardmore Studios.
He also produced the U2 concert movie “Rattle and Hum,” and later this year will co-produce a film scripted by U2’s Bono, “Million Dollar Hotel,” which will be directed by Wim Wenders. But there is no suggestion that U2 will be involved in the new film company.
Colgan has worked occasionally in TV and recently made a series of nine half-hour two-handers under the title “Two Lives.” He has produced theater all around the world and is taking Brian Friel’s play “Molly Sweeney” to the Roundabout Theater in New York this summer.
The pair have been friends since 1969, when Colgan beat McGuiness in the election to become chairman of the Dublin University Players.