Do you really want to get an IRA mole mad? British spy drama Fifty Dead Men Walking has stirred the ire of Martin McGartland, its real-life inspiration, according to The Hollywood Reporter. McGartland "threatened legal action against the Canadian-British co-production ... on grounds that the feature infringes his moral rights." On the same day that McGartland made his threat, a scheduled press screening was canceled by Canadian distributor TVA Films, which claimed "a print problem."
The film is scheduled to have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 10 -- a splashy, red carpet Gala Presentation. But McGartland says that the film "is an entirely false and distorted account of what took place." He is also "reserving all [his] legal rights and remedies in this matter." But one has to wonder -- didn't he already sign off by selling the film rights? Or was that out of his hands and up to his publisher (Hastings House)?
McGartland infiltrated the IRA for the British police in the 1980s and then had to go on the run when his true identity was uncovered. Kari Skogland (Chicks with Sticks, The Stone Angel) adapted McGartland's 1998 book for the screen and also directed. Ben Kingsley, Rose McGowan, Jim Sturgess (21) star. The prospect of Kingsley (in a bad hair piece) and Sturgess facing off somehow -- is Kingsley his police "control"? a member of the IRA? -- sounds very enticing, as does the prospect of Sturgess tackling a serious subject, so let's hope this gets resolved quickly.