Entertainment behind the scenes
Rose McGowan and the IRA: what does she know?
It’s one thing to be a movie actress portraying a character in a secretive anti-government group, but it’s a far different to be a person in real life battling a government every day. In movies, guns fire blanks; in real life, they shoot bullets.
So, when actress Rose McGowan told reporters at a Toronto film festival press conference for her new movie ”Fifty Dead Men Walking” that if she had lived through Northern Ireland’s ”Troubles,” she would have joined the Irish Republican Army, she almost immediately drew a protest from the very man upon whose life the film is based.
“I imagine had I grown up in Belfast I would have 100 percent joined the IRA,” said McGowan, 35, who plays a high-ranking IRA femme fatale in the movie, alongside British actors Jim Sturgess and Ben Kingsley.
“My heart just broke for the cause and I have a lot of respect for the intelligence and the honor that these people carried.”
“Fifty Dead Men Walking,” which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on Wednesday, is based on Martin McGartland’s best-selling 1997 memoir of a young Catholic hustler living in Belfast in the late ’80s who was recruited by British intelligence to infiltrate the IRA.
McGartland, who is still in hiding and lives under a false identity on the British mainland, responded with a statement on Thursday slamming McGowan’s off-the-cuff remarks.
“Such comments are deeply offensive and hurtful to victims of IRA terrorism,” he said.
McGowan, whose father is Irish, was born and raised in Italy. Could she really know what it meant to be an IRA member just because she was in a movie? Are statements such as hers made by actors ”deeply offensive and hurtful” to people on both sides of an issue who have suffered in real life? They are interesting questions, and we’d like to know readers’ views.