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Hollywood homage Michael Flatley's spy thriller Blackbird to open Monaco movie festival

The Chicago-born dancer said he wanted the Caribbean-based film to be his personal homage to old Hollywood's golden era of thrillers

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A bloodied Michael Flatley in the film

A bloodied Michael Flatley in the film

A bloodied Michael Flatley in the film

Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley's spy thriller Blackbird has been selected as the opening feature for the Monaco Streaming Film Festival.

The Chicago-born dancer - who sprang to global stardom first with Riverdance and then with Lord of the Dance - said he wanted the Caribbean-based film to be his personal homage to old Hollywood's golden era of thrillers.

Prestigious entertainment industry magazine Variety said the feature was "a pleasant surprise" with key supporting roles from Irish star Patrick Bergin, and Eric Roberts from the hit action film The Expendables.

It also stars Ian Beattie, Rachel Warren, Nicole Evans and Serhat Metin.

"I wanted to make a modern movie reminiscent of old Hollywood," Mr Flatley explained.

"The classics were always entertaining without being excessively violent or complicated.

"We shot the movie in Barbados, Ireland and London, capturing some of the most cinematically picturesque locations on film, all of which have a special place in my heart."

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The promotional poster for his movie Blackbird

The promotional poster for his movie Blackbird

The promotional poster for his movie Blackbird

 

The dancer now splits his time between his villa in the hills overlooking Monaco and his north Cork estate, Castlehyde.

His Castlehyde property - along the banks of the River Blackwater outside Fermoy - was bought when virtually derelict for €3m in 2001 and then returned to its 18th century glory thanks to a €27m refurbishment.

The star had considered selling the estate but decided to take it off the market after warning he was too emotionally attached to the property that had hosted his 2006 wedding to his wife, Niamh.

He also owns a property in Barbados where Blackbird was filmed.

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Mr Flatley will also be honoured for his work to support cancer and homeless charities in Monaco on Wednesday evening.

On July 7, Prince Albert will present Mr Flatley with the prestigious CC Forum award for outstanding contribution to global humanitarian causes.

It is the second major honour he has received in Monaco, having been honoured at the Red Cross gala in 2003 by the late Prince Rainier.

"I'm honoured to be showing Blackbird at the inaugural Monaco Streaming Film Festival.

"It's an innovative venture and opens the doors globally to a rapidly evolving digital marketplace," he added.

"It is really good news."

The film was written and financed by the dance multi-millionaire with scenes being shot on location four years ago.

It revolves around the story of a retired intelligence operative who is trying to live a quiet life running a hotel in Barbados.

However, he is dragged back into his old life in a bid to help a friend with a strong romantic sub-plot running throughout the film.

Monaco Streaming Film Festival founder Tony Davis told Variety it was an honour to have the event open with Blackbird.

"Michael Flatley's debut feature film is such a pleasant surprise - he brings his renowned stage presence and energy, which we have all experienced over the past 25 years, to the big screen in a gripping romantic thriller," he said.

"Blackbird is beautifully filmed in stunning exotic locations, and a brilliant supporting cast help Flatley deliver something his legions of fans all over the world are going to love - he's quite simply a star."

The Monaco event runs until July 6.

Mr Flatley also made a plea for governments to work with health chiefs to allow the entertainment industry re-open, warning the pandemic had "robbed" artists of a year of their lives.

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