The Shore nominated for the Best Live Action Short film Oscar, is the uplifting story of two boyhood best friends—Joe (Ciarán Hinds) and Paddy (Conleth Hill)—divided for 25 years by the tumult of “The Troubles”. When Joe returns home to Northern Ireland, his daughter Patricia brings the two men together for a reunion, with unexpected results. What happened all those years ago? Can old wounds be healed? The answer is both hilarious and moving. The Shore is about one of the small personal reconciliations that coincide with a national reconciliation.
The Shore is written and directed by Belfast native and double Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director Terry George and produced by his daughter Oorlagh George. It was shot on location in the bay in front of his home in Killough,, Northern Ireland by a cast and crew made up of friends and family. The Shore is Terry George’s first chance to shoot in Northern Ireland.
Terry George’s first dramatic work, the prison escape play, “The Tunnel”, was staged at the Irish Arts Center in New York in 1986.
“The Tunnel” was the first of numerous collaborations with writer/director Jim Sheridan. In 1992, George and Sheridan wrote “In the Name of the Father”. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Screenplay. In 1996, George was named Young European Film Director of the Year for his directorial debut “Some Mother’s Son”.
Since then, he has written and directed numerous television shows and feature films including, “A Bright Shining Lie”, “The District”, “Hart’s War”, and “Reservation Road”. In 2004, he wrote, directed and produced “Hotel Rwanda”. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Screenplay. He most recently directed Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte in the HBO drama series “Luck”.
Bijan Tehrani: How did you come up with the story of “The Shore”?
Terry George : It goes back a long way, when I was doing the research on the script of “In The Name of The Father”, I was driving around Northern Ireland with Daniel Day Lewis and we stopped at my uncles house and, over a couple of days, he told us about what happened with the misunderstanding that occurred between my uncle and an unemployment officer. It stuck in my mind and for years and I kept trying to find a way to get that story into something that I was writing. In early 2010, I had just done a lot of Hollywood script rewrites and I had directed a pilot and I was burned out by this time. It was getting away from what I thought I was best at, so I sat down and I told my daughter that I am going to do The Shore—I am going to do this story that my uncle told me. In the time since I had heard the story, the war had ended in Northern Ireland, and I decided that I wanted to write something else about war, about the lack of communication between divided people. I came up with this love triangle in the film which is about a great misunderstanding between three friends who don’t communicate and then finally, when they do start to talk again, they learn that it is just water under the bridge; when you actually take the time to talk, all problems can be resolved. So, that was the genesis and the theme of it. My daughter then raised the money and we shot it over six days at my house in Ireland.
BT: One amazing aspect of your film is that everything happens in a day and a half, and you brilliantly show a slice of life which works really well and comes to life through the characters. How did you go about casting the film?
TG : Well first off Keiran Hines is an old friend, I worked with him on the first film I directed. We kept contact throughout the years, he is a prolific actor and I always wanted to work with him again, so I just wrote him a note and I told him that I am going to shoot a short film and he called me back and said he would do it. Kerry Condon, I had seen her in plays and I was struck by her heart and her talent, and then I learned that I would be working with her on Luck, the HBO series. The thing is, in Ireland we have a remarkable pool of very talented actors, and all of them were in love with the story and directing them was very easy.
BT: How did you work with the actors when you had to shoot in such a short amount of time, did you have any rehearsals at all?
TG: No time for rehearsals. The tide going in and out determined how we could shoot so we were actually extremely lucky and that might have been one of the sunniest weeks on record. It rained only once so we were able to keep working, but with a short film you don’t have much space to chew the fat; you basically have to get on and do it, this has been my experience from working with independent and short form movies.
BT: What do you think are the chances of your film winning the Oscar, and how much do you think it will help your future work?
TG: Well I guess we have a 1 in 5 chance, you don’t really know. In terms of my future work, I have been nominated twice before, and it helps to get your name out there, it all helps. The thing with “The Shore” for me is that I am able to show a beautiful part of Ireland to the rest of the world and that means a lot to me. This film is more about the countryside and the people of Ireland and the message that we put out to the rest of the world. The Northern Ireland conflict might be resolved. If both parties make the effort to really talk about it, and I think that it is a message to the rest of the world, it is possible to reach peace between two warring factions. The film has a subliminal message about talking and communicating and eventually the misunderstandings are water under the bridge.
BT: As you mentioned, it is amazing to see the beauty of this part of Ireland that I have never actually seen, and it is a wonderful painting.
TG: My cameraman, Michael McDonald, framed the shots so beautifully, those are images that I see all the time when I am over there, and from that point of view it was a pleasure to bring them to screen.
BT: Do you have any future projects lined up?
TG : There are a few things: I am still trying to get a biography feature, so you are always in development with stuff. After I shot The Shore, I stayed in Belfast and did a dark comedy with Brendan Frasier and Colm Meaney.