“Downton Abbey” star Brendan Coyle has come on board “The Rising” to play the role of politician Augustine Birrell in “The Rising,” the upcoming film about Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising.
Liam Neeson’s son Michael has been set to play the Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, reprising the role his father made famous in 1996’s “Michael Collins.” Colin Morgan is playing the lead role of Sean McDermott — who masterminded the Easter Rising — and David O’Hara is playing revolutionary leader James Connolly.
The historical drama-thriller will be produced and directed by Kevin McCann from a screenplay by McCann and co-writer Colin Broderick. The story will form a prequel to the events covered in Neil Jordan’s “Michael Collins” and Ken Loach’s 2006 Palme d’Or winner “The Wind That Shakes the Barley.”
The Irish Film Board and Northern Ireland Screen are providing partial financing. Shane MacGowan of the Pogues will write the theme song for the film.
McCann’s credits include the short films “Prison Door” and “Volkswagen Joe” and the documentary “The Boys of St. Columb’s.”
Birrell was Britain’s chief secretary for Ireland from 1907 to 1916 and resigned following the Easter Rising.
On “Downton Abbey,” Coyle plays the role of the valet John Bates and was nominated for a supporting actor Emmy for the series’ first season.