“It’s a battle, it’s David and Goliath,” says actor Clive Owen as he acknowledges just how tough it is for a small film like Shadow Dancer to make headway at the box office in the U.S. in the midst of blockbuster season.
But Owen was diligently doing his best to promote this film, expressing a lot of enthusiasm for it in a series of press interviews in New York this week.
The intricate thriller, which opens this weekend, is set against the backdrop of Belfast in the 1990s and has Owen playing a MI5 agent opposite Andrea Riseborough, who portrays an intense single mother and IRA operative.
Despite strong reviews, the star power of the leads, and its Oscar winning director James Marsh, Shadow Dancer could easily get lost amid the seasonal Hollywood heavyweights.
Owen is aware of the challenge but he’s determined. “There is an audience out there for adult intelligent movies.There is – and you’ve just got to fight for a bit of space to get people to know about it really,” he says.
In Shadow Dancer, Andrea Riseborough’s character becomes a mole essentially spying on her own family testing her loyalties. It’s a position she takes on reluctantly after being issued with a tough ultimatum from the MI5 agent played by Owen.
This well-made thriller requires concentration on the part of the audience, but strong rewards can be reaped from both the storytelling and the acting.
One reason why Clive Owen got involved in project was because of his respect for director James Marsh, who’s perhaps best known for his 2008 Oscar winning documentary Man on Wire which focused on the tightrope walk made by Philippe Petit between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.
“This script came to me. I read it because of James Marsh,” says Owen. “I loved Man on Wire and I was intrigued to see what he was going to do.”
Clive Owen comes across as a very committed actor. Although he has appeared in several high profile commercial studio films, he maintains he resists taking on acting jobs just for the money.
He says: “I try not to. That’s the plan. If you have an appetite for a piece of material, to work with a director, that’ll get you through everything. It’s only when you start to compromise and start to make decisions for the wrong reasons that you can end up drowning.”
Shadow Dancer opens at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in New York on May 31.