British spy blasts director of IRA film

Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:20am EDT
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TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - A former British spy whose life story inspired the new Irish Republican Army drama "Fifty Dead Men Walking" has blasted the film's director for allowing former members of the guerrilla group to provide security and creative input during last year's Belfast shoot.

Martin McGartland, a former IRA infiltrator, spoke out on Thursday after Canadian director Kari Skogland and her cast last week revealed that former IRA volunteers had helped onscreen authenticity by providing tips on how to make bombs and torture IRA informants.

"(Skogland) should certainly not have been negotiating with the IRA to be able to film in certain areas of Belfast and she should never have allowed former IRA terrorists to be on set while filming," McGartland said.

He also fingered the Canadian government for funding the film. During three decades of violence, the IRA was responsible for more than half of 3,600 sectarian killings in the British province of Northern Ireland.

The film is already generating controversy following co-star Rose McGowan's declaration that she would have joined the IRA had she lived in Belfast during the Troubles. The film's producers said McGowan's comments were her own and not those of anyone else associated with the film.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>Director Kari Skogland speaks beside actor Jim Sturgess (L) at the "Fifty Dead Men Walking" news conference at the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival September 10, 2008. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese</p>