Jim Sheridan Dispels Daniel Day-Lewis Acting Rumors; Reveals Joseph Kennedy Talks With Steven Spielberg & Gives Updates On ‘Standing Bear’ & ‘Re-Creation’

Jim Sheridan Dispels Daniel Day-Lewis Acting Rumors; Reveals Joseph Kennedy Talks With Steven Spielberg & Gives Updates On ‘Standing Bear’ & ‘Re-Creation’

Jim Sheridan has dispelled rumors around a possible return to acting by Daniel Day-Lewis, who gave an Oscar-winning performance in the Irish director’s drama My Left Foot and also starred in his subsequent films In The Name Of The Father and The Boxer.

Rumors have been rife that Day-Lewis, who retired from acting in 2017, might be contemplating a return to the big screen after he was photographed by paparazzi coming out of a New York restaurant with Sheridan and Steven Spielberg in early January.

Sheridan said the trio had been holding a meeting about a possible reboot of his long-gestating project about the Kennedy family, focused on its social climber-patriarch Joseph Kennedy.

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“We were talking about a project. Daniel was only going to be involved, if he did get involved, as an executive producer, not as an actor,” said Sheridan.

“It was on the life of Joe Kennedy, the patriarch of the Kennedy family… we haven’t advanced it, we were just talking,” he added.

Sheridan was talking to Deadline at the Doha Film Festival’s Qumra event, running in the Qatari capital from March 1 to 6, which he is attending as one of its Qumra Master mentors, alongside actor-producer Toni Collette, filmmakers Leos Carax, Claire Denis, Atom Egoyan and sound editor and designer Martín Hernández. 

The director also gave updates on his previously announced projects Standing Bear, about the 19th Century Ponca tribe chief Standing Bear, and Re-Creation, exploring the unsolved murder of French film and TV producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Ireland in 1996.

Standing Bear revolves around the 1879 landmark trial of Standing Bear vs. the United States of America, which led to Native Americans being considered as “human beings” for the first time under U.S. law.

“We have a script which we’re refining and I’m going to the states in the summer or earlier, to start putting it together to shoot, either in the winter or next spring,” said Sheridan.

The project was first developed by co-writer and producer Andrew Troy, who is part Chiricahua Apache, under his Troy Entertainment banner.

Sheridan’s Ireland-based Hell’s Kitchen Limited is also on board as a partner with Luca Matrundola (Waiting for the Barbarians) and longtime Anonymous Content exec Paul Green (The Fifth Estate).

“It’s a great story. I’m trying to show, kind of, the similarities between the history of the native Irish and the Native Americans. It’s about an Irishman who meets Standing Bear.”

The director added that the plan was to shoot the feature in Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Quizzed on whether he had seen Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, about the murder of the Osage people in Oklahoma in the 1920s, Sheridan said it would have a very different tone from that film.

“It’s a sad movie and Martin’s a genius,” he said of Killers of the Flower Moon. “In our film, the natives have agency because Standing Bear took a case against the government to declare him a man. At least, there’s some agency for the natives.”

Sheridan acknowledged that financing a project like Standing Bear is more challenging that when he made U.S.-set productions such as In America (2002) and Brothers (2009).

“It’s way, way more difficult. At least for me, so I can only speak personally and on behalf of around 10 directors I know, English directors, who haven’t worked for more for 10 years. For anyone over 40, it suddenly dried up when the streamers came in,” he said.

The director is also mid-way through completing his hybrid project Re-creation about the unsolved murder of French film and TV producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier in a remote part of Ireland in 1996, which he has co-written and is co-directing with David Merriman.

Sheridan said the production, which features award-winning Luxembourgish actress Vicky Krieps (Corsage) in the cast, shot key jury discussion scenes in Luxembourg last fall.

“The jury are discussing real facts in a fictional setting,” he said. “My plan is to try and reshoot it as soon as they can reconstitute everybody and get a little bit extra money.”

“It’s a hybrid. You’ve got the statements and some visuals that are reality. And then you’ve got kind of a homage to 12 Angry Men type situation.”

Sheridan stood by his assertion that prime suspect Iain Bailey, who died of a heart attack in January of this year, was not guilty of the crime.

“For 27 years, this man was blamed for the murder with no actual evidence. The trial in France was a trial of a file from the Irish police that our director of public prosecutions said shouldn’t even allow him to be charged,” he said.

“I’ve done a lot of in-depth on it which you can’t get to do anymore in the newspapers because of the financial structure of the newspaper world now. Documentaries have replaced that in-depth reporting. I just wanted to get justice for Sophie and to a certain extent Iain Bailey. I don’t think he did it.”

Sheridan confirmed recent reports in the Irish press that he is going to bring a new suspect into the frame in the film, the emergence of which led to a reopening of the cold case by the Irish police in 2022.

The director acknowledged that Bailey’s death made it easier to proceed with the project, because of the complex nature of his private and public persona, linked to accusations of domestic violence.

“It makes it much easier because he was such a complicated character. It was hard for people to empathize with him, especially when the images of him with the domestic violence were forefront in your mind,” said the director.