Magazine article Newsweek

The Pluck of the Irish

Magazine article Newsweek

The Pluck of the Irish

Article excerpt

Ned Devine is dead--and still holding the winning lottery ticket. Now everybody's looking to cash in.

David kelly, 69, wasn't concerned about shooting the scene in question. He figured that when the day arrived he wouldn't really be riding the motorcycle himself, or, at the very least, he wouldn't really be buck naked. And then the day arrived. In Kirk Jones's adorable debut film, Waking Ned Devine, Kelly plays Michael O'Sullivan, a kindly Irishman embarked on a con with his lifelong buddy Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen). It seems a fellow villager, Ned Devine, has won a $4 million lottery--and died from shock, still grasping the ticket. Jackie persuades Michael to impersonate Ned and cash in. One day they're swimming in the sea as a lottery official heads to Ned's house to confirm his identity. Michael leaps onto his motorcycle and races, nude, to beat him there. "I was so scared and so cold that all modesty went out the window," says Kelly. "I'd never been on a motorcycle before and I just thought, 'I am going to die.' It was like Steve McQueen time! And the helmet was unbalancing me. Kirk gave me a lovely direction. He said, 'David, I want you to look worried.' And, by God, I looked worried!"

By the time Michael gets on his motorcycle, we all want to go along for the ride. "Ned Devine" is a surpassingly sweet, funny and picturesque movie. It was shot in a tiny village on the Isle of Man. The movie wasn't officially competing at Cannes this year, but director Jones, 34, drove the only print of the movie down from London himself for a screening. …

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