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Owen: Ireland was war zone; STAR TALK.

* ACTOR Clive Owen admits that making new spy film Shadow Dancer in Ireland brought back memories of time spent there during the Troubles.

STAR The 47-year-old star of Children of Men and King Arthur was appearing in a play in Belfast. TALK "The place was virtually a war zone. There were soldier drills going on all over the place and it had a tension about it," he recalls.

"It was only when I went into the production office for this film, and saw all the pictures they'd put on the wall from that time, that I was like, 'Wow, they've come a long way'."

Clive said he wasn't particularly looking for a project when he was approached to play the role of MI5 officer Mac, who convinces a terrorist to turn informer.

"I read the script and had to do it because it was such a good piece of writing."

Tom Bradby, the TV journalist and interviewer, adapted the script from his first novel, which he had based on his own experiences as a reporter in Ireland in the early to mid-90s.

The film is directed by James Marsh, who is better known as a documentary maker responsible for Man On A Wire and Project Nim. Clive said that he felt Marsh's background brought integrity to the project.

"Documentary makers are not interested in anything fake or phoney.

"They have spent their lives trying to capture the essence of something real, their sensibilities are very grounded and that's always exciting."

He also points out that Shadow Dancer is about a woman faced with choosing a side but is not judgmental. "It's not about clearly drawn lines of right or wrong, it's about grappling with decisions," he says.

"It was a very complicated time for Northern Ireland and I think one of its strengths is that it addresses this and the fact people became trapped in a situation, just as my character does and Colette and her family do."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 26, 2012
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