Skyfall writer John Logan has play staged in Belfast

By Peter Coulter
Good Morning Ulster

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Logan is behind some of world's biggest films including Skyfall, Spectre, The Aviator and Hugo

He has written some of the world's biggest films, but John Logan is equally as excited about one of his stage plays opening in Belfast.

Logan's family moved from Northern Ireland to the United States before he was born, but he is still a regular visitor.

Among the movies he has written are Bond films Skyfall and Spectre, as well as The Aviator and The Last Samurai.

His play RED is currently showing at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast.

RED tells the story of artist Mark Rothko, who was commissioned to make murals for the Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram Building in New York.

"It was the paintings of the murals themselves," said Logan, when asked why he was inspired by Rothko.

"I thought they were breathtaking."

This is the first time one of Logan's plays has been staged in Northern Ireland and he said it was a "wonderful feeling".

"I was there a few months visiting all the relatives and to have them have a chance to see one of my plays is fantastic," he said.

Image source, LYRIC THEATRE
Image caption,
Patrick O’Kane plays Rothko in the Lyric Theatre production of RED by John Logan

"They've seen my movies and television work, but this is a different art form, so I'm thrilled its back on the old sod."

Logan spent three years working in Dublin on the television series Penny Dreadful and said he was able to visit his aunt and cousins.

"I did a tour with my mum and my sister. It's important to check back in when you can," he said.

Despite being a three time Oscar nominated screenwriter and winning Golden Globes and Tony Awards, Logan said he still gets nervous with each script.

"You're only as good as your last script," he said.

"There's never any way of predicting what will be a success artistically or commercially. I always get nervous, but I think it's exciting."

World of James Bond

Logan is modest when asked which of his films or plays is his favourite and said each stand out for different reasons.

"Sweeney Todd gave me a chance to collaborate with the great Stephen Sondheim for five years," he said.

Image caption,
Johnny Depp worked with John Logan on the Sweeney Todd film.

"Working on Skyfall and Spectre was like a dream come true to get into the world of James Bond.

"I'm especially fond of the movies I did with Martin Scorsese, Hugo and the Aviator, because Martin has such a respect for language and that's a rare thing for film directors."

Logan has worked closely with some of the world's leading actors, including Johnny Depp, Daniel Craig, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Bette Midler, Leonardo Di Caprio and Eddie Redmayne and said his relationship with his actors is crucial.

"Sweeney Todd would never have got made but for Johnny Depp and his passion and commitment to do it, the same with Leonardi Di Caprio and The Aviator," he said.

"Sometimes knowing who you are writing for and having a relationship with them is really important for a writer as you are trying to hear the words through someone else's lips, so it can be really useful to know them.

"I've been talking to Scarlett Johansson about something. I think she's a wonderful actor and I'd love to write for her.

"But there's a long list of actors and directors I still want to work with."

RED is showing at the Lyric Theatre Belfast until 22 April.

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