AN INSIDER’S ACCOUNT OF AN OUTSIDER LORD
Oscar-winning filmmaker Neil Jordan has managed to run parallel careers as a director and novelist, and his latest book is his most cinematic yet.
It’s an historical novel, The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small, about the true-life friendship between aristocrat turned 1798 revolutionary Lord Edward Fitzgerald and the runaway American slave who saved his life.
“I don’t know how I would have lived if I didn’t make movies and I also don’t know how I would have lived if I didn’t write books,” Neil tells Martina Devlin in the latest City of Books podcast. He says films feel like short stories to him, and he never stops writing – short stories, novels and film scripts.
His films range from The Crying Game to Michael Collins. On Hollywood, he says: “When I started directing movies I felt I was in a world of Neanderthals. I felt I had suddenly strayed into this world of these blundering dinosaurs.
“And I thought, what am I doing here, this strange little Irish guy? And they used to treat me that way as well, they’d almost treat you with amused contempt. It was kind of weird.”
Asked about Hollywood’s toxicity towards women, he says: “With the scandal of Harvey Weinstein, and all of the #MeToo exposés, it seems there’s been a level of behaviour in Hollywood that has been tolerated and rampant that I would associate with the Fifties.
“This kind of casting couch thing, which I thought was a joke when I was in Hollywood – it seems part of a far distant history – but it has continued.
“It is just an aggressive industry. It costs a lot of money it’s very male dominated, very white, very chauvinistic. I always hated that aspect of it, I never wanted to be part of it, never felt I was part of it. But then George Lucas would say the same.”
The difficulty has been in women gaining access to the director’s chair, he adds. “That seems to have been the big glass ceiling that is just now being cracked.”
The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small by Neil Jordan is published by Lilliput Press
For the City of Books interview click HERE, or look for City of Books on Spotify and Apple.