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Aidan Quinn in "This Is My Father"

Meet Aidan Quinn's 'Father,' brothers and sister

May 27, 1999
Web posted at: 4:59 p.m. EDT (2059 GMT)

From Bill Tush
CNN Entertainment News Correspondent

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Actor Aidan Quinn's latest film, "This Is My Father," is a family project. The story is based in part on a true-life story passed on to Quinn by his Irish immigrant parents. His brother Paul took the story of forbidden love and intrigue and turned it into a screenplay.

Parents, brother -- not enough family for you? Aidan's sister and another brother also jumped into the production, a film that follows the journey of a disillusioned Chicago schoolteacher, Kieran Johnson (James Caan), as he and a rebellious nephew trace the family roots back to an Irish village.

While searching for a father he never knew, Johnson meets a gypsy fortuneteller, who reveals that Johnson's father was a simple farmer named Kieran O'Day, played in flashback by Aidan Quinn. When Fiona Flynn, the young daughter of a wealthy landowner asks O'Day, whose foster parents are tenants on Flynn property, to dance with her.

'Romeo and Juliet' with a brogue

A scandal ensues: He's older than young Miss Flynn, and from a less wealthy social class. In the Ireland of 1939, class still counts.

"It's a kind of star-crossed 'Romeo and Juliet'-type love story, where these two were desperately in love with each other, but everyone around them doesn't want them to be together," Quinn says.

With his brother Paul directing, his sister Marian acting in the show and his brother Declan serving as director of photography, Aidan Quinn says there was no sibling rivalry here: He says it was a pleasure to work with his family on this affair.

"To get to do something as rich as this story and this part, with my two brothers and my sister -- you know, there was nothing like it," Quinn says.

New perspectives

As a first-time film director -- he'd previously worked in the theater, as a director and actor -- Paul got to see his older brother Aidan in a whole new light. "I think that the great thing about Aidan is he's one of those actors who is willing to give up his vulnerability onscreen, even though it's a very scary practice to do that," he says.

Meanwhile, for the 17-year veteran actor Aidan, letting his little brother call the shots provided its own challenge.

"Paul sometimes would be a little bit annoying to me, because I'd be behind the camera on a scene I wasn't in, looking at the clock and going, 'Come on, we've got to move on,'" recalls Aidan.

"Paul would be laughing with extras and saying, 'Yes, and then we could do that,' and, 'Let's try this,' and I'm like, 'OK, but we've got to go!'"

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Official 'This Is My Father' site
Sony Pictures Classics
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