I'LL PAY BACK Pounds 2M DEBT; Comic O'Carroll's Cash Pledge

By Taylor, Richie | The Mirror (London, England), March 23, 1998 | Go to article overview

I'LL PAY BACK Pounds 2M DEBT; Comic O'Carroll's Cash Pledge


Taylor, Richie, The Mirror (London, England)


FUNNYMAN Brendan O'Carroll last night vowed: "I'll beat my pounds 2 million movie debt."

The comedy star is facing financial ruin after the distributor of his film Sparrow's Trap pulled out only three weeks into the six-week shoot.

O'Carroll and his stage partner Gerry Brown were forced to borrow more than pounds 2 million to continue filming.

But father of three O'Carroll, 42, said last night: "I'm not that worried. I'll always be able to put food on the table and educate my kids."

He added: "I've done well down through the years, I'll always be able to look after my family. They're not looking for a cushy lifestyle, they aren't looking for a fur-lined nest.

"And I'm starting a new run of my play The Course in six weeks' time that'll help to pay the bills."

Help is also on the way from telly bosses at RTE who have offered to buy the TV rights to the movie - which stars former Brookside actor Bryan Murray and 2FM disc jockey Simon Young - for pounds 100,000.

And as soon as he finishes editing the film, O'Carroll plans to sell the rights in up to 20 other countries.

"I hadn't intended to get involved in selling the film, mainly because I haven't a clue how to go about it, but I'll soon learn," he said.

And he added: "I believe this film is good enough to pay its way. I held a sneak preview of it in a Dublin pub last week and the crowd loved it."

O'Carroll says he couldn't quit, especially after the film's cast and crew - and total strangers - dug deep to help him out.

"Perfect strangers offered me cash when they heard about my difficulties," he said. "One night I told the crew I didn't have the money to pay their wages and would understand if they didn't show up for work the next day. The following morning they were all there raring to go. That brought a tear to my eye and the movie became magic from then on."

But there is still a real threat the former waiter could lose his luxury home in Ashbourne, Co Meath if Sparrow's Trap flops.

The star faced down financial ruin and disaster ten years ago when his partner in a Finglas pub fled the country after selling all the stock and fittings.

He still believes the stress of that period was what gave his wife Doreen breast cancer - which she has successfully beaten.

O'Carroll has written and staged two plays, released five videos and regularly toured the country with his Outrageous Comedy Show.

Sparrow's Trap is his first movie attempt, and he also takes the lead role in the film about a former boxer who falls foul of a vicious Dublin criminal gang.

O'Carroll is now busy editing the film, but still has no distributor lined-up.

His original distributor, who had also invested in the film, pulled out after a bitter row with the pint-sized funnyman.

O'Carroll and partner Brown now own 97% of the movie.

He said: "Once that happened we had to pay for everything ourselves and myself and Gerry re-mortgaged our houses in order to get the cash. …

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