10 June 2009
He considered a career as a veterinarian, but failed the entrance exams. He cleaned houses and maintained streetside plants. And finally, he became one of the world’s best-known actors, awarded with the most prestigious prizes.
The illustrious Jeremy Irons has accepted our invitation to Art Film Fest, and on Saturday, 20 June, he will personally accept the Actor’s Mission Award and fix a brass plaque bearing his name to the Bridge of Fame in Trenčianske Teplice.
Through the years of his prolific acting career, this star of films such as Lolita, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, The Man in the Iron Mask, and Damage has performed alongside such renowned performers as Meryl Streep, Ben Kingsley, Liv Tyler, Juliette Binoche, Glenn Close, Melanie Griffith and Rachel Weisz. Irons has portrayed romantic lovers, torn intellectuals and even psychopaths.
In the film Lolita (1997) he flawlessly portrays Professor Humbert, who smoulders with devastating desire for his very young stepdaughter. This film adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel of the same name was directed by romantic drama specialist Adrian Lyne, who has films such as Fatal Attraction and 9 1/2 Weeks under his belt. Today, many readers of Lolita cannot imagine the mad, miserably enamoured professor as anyone other than Irons.
Jeremy Irons was born on 19 September, 1948 in the small town of Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, Great Britain. He received his acting education at Bristol’s Old Vic School, and after graduating he accepted an engagement with their travelling theatre troupe. His first step towards a stable acting career was performing in serials such as The Pallisers (1975) and Love for Lydia (1977). His breakthrough role could be considered the biographical film of the renowned dancer Nijinsky (1981), where Irons played famed choreographer Mikhail Fokine.
He drew considerable attention with his second film, The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), where he acted alongside Meryl Streep. Here he portrays two spiritually connected people – an intellectual and a lover, who fall in love with a mysterious woman. These roles were perfectly suited to Irons’ temperament, and he was their ideal performer, thanks in part to his elegant, even patrician features and striking eyes.
Irons also lent his mournful face to other roles of fated lovers. On the silver screen he has succumbed to the love of numerous ladies: Patricia Hodge in Betrayal (1982), Ornella Muti in Swann in Love (1984) and Juliette Binoche in Damage (1992).
The first significant acknowledgement of Irons’ work came in 1984. For his role in the Broadway production The Real Thing, where he performed with Glenn Close, he was granted the prestigious theatrical prize the Tony Award. Four years later, he received a Best Actor award from the New York Film Critics Circle Award for his double role as twin-brother gynaecologists in the picture Dead Ringers.
In 1990, he earned the most prestigious film award, an Oscar, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his role in the film Reversal of Fortune, based on true events, where he played an aristocrat accused of twice attempting to murder his wife.
Irons excelled in the picture The Mission (1986) with Robert De Niro, where he took the role of a Jesuit missionary who attempts to spread Christianity among Amazonian natives and puts stake in their defence.
Irons has also visited Prague, thanks to the filming of Kafka (1991), the fictitious picture inspired by the writer Franz Kafka, a Prague native. The film was directed by the famed Steven Soderbergh, who entrusted Irons with the lead role as Jewish bureaucrat Kafka. During his stay in Prague, Irons also acted in the film version of Václav Havel’s The Beggar’s Opera, shot by Jiří Menzel.
Irons remembers meeting Jiří Menzel for dinner and asking him if he could act in Menzel’s film. Menzel invited Irons to do so, so he came, and they dressed him and made him up. They filmed the scene in two hours and Irons was paid twenty-five dollars. It was a fantastic collaboration according to Irons, who recounted it during his 2005 stay in Bratislava, when he was a guest of the TOM 2004 awards ceremony. He also visited Bratislava in 1991, on his way from the Prague filming to Berlin. He spent one day in Slovakia, buying an accordion and pictures.
Irons’ wife is actress Sinéad Cusack. They acted together in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty (1995), which was also the final film of popular French actor Jean Marais.
Irons’ name is also connected with Hollywood. He played the main villain, craving money and revenge, in Die Hard: With a Vengeance, alongside Bruce Willis. In The Man in the Iron Mask he portrayed Aramis, whose undergoes a religious conversion. His co-actors in that film included John Malkovich and Gérard Depardieu. In Ridley Scott’s epic Kingdom Heaven, he is reincarnated as Commander Tiberias. And he took the role of an evil wizard in the film adaptation of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.
Irons’ hobbies include riding horses and motorcycles, skiing and gardening.
Organizers: ART FILM, n.o., FORZA Production House Co-Organizers: the Town of Trenčianske Teplice, the Town of Trenčín, Health Spa Trenčianske Teplice
The Festival is made possible through the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic.
General Sponsors: AquaCity Poprad, zdravotná poisťovňa Dôvera
Main Sponsors: Omnia Holding, Tatra banka, Tauris, the Central European Foundation, Slovnaft Official Transport Provider: Lancia Logistics Sponsor: DHL Sponsors: Provimi Pet Food, Dr. Max, Enagro, Hotel Baske, AVI Studio Official Suppliers: Hubert, Parkhotel na Baračke, GS design, Segafredo Zanetti SR, Philips, Via France Slovak cinema is brought to you by Zlatý Bažant
Main Media Sponsors: Slovenská televízia, Pravda, Zoznam.sk, Boomerang, Žurnál Media Sponsors: televízia Markíza, FilmBox, Televízia Central, Rádio Okey, Rádio Hit FM, Markíza, Pardon, Cinemax, Kam do mesta, port.sk, kedykam.sk, superobed.sk, ISPA, SITA, Q-EX, Trenčianske Echo Partners: Hotel Praha, Hotel Flóra, Hotel Tatra, Slovak Film Institute, Italian Cultural Institute Bratislava, CzechTourism, Intersonic, Tatrafilm, Slovak Film and Television Academy, Esterle & Esterle, lampART, Celtima