‘The Banshees Of Inisherin’: Read The Screenplay For Martin McDonaghs Dark Comedy

Editors noteDeadline’s Read the Screenplay series debuts and celebrates the scripts of films that will factor in this year’s movie awards races.

Producer and Blueprint Pictures co-founder Graham Broadbent was traveling in South America when he received the script for Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin. After immersing himself into the lives of the people on the tiny island, he knew he had his next McDonagh movie. Broadbent and the Irish playwright previously made In Bruges (2008), Seven Psychopaths (2012) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) together, with Bruges and Billboard scoring Original Screenplay Oscar nominations.

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Starring Colin Ferrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan, Searchlight Pictures’ Banshees follows Pádraic (Farrell) and Colm (Gleeson), besties who find themselves at a standstill when Colm unexpectedly puts an end to their friendship. A stunned Pádraic, aided by his sister Siobhán (Condon) and troubled young islander Dominic (Keoghan), aims to fix the relationship, against Colm’s wishes. Pádraic’s repeated efforts only strengthen his former friend’s resolve, and when Colm delivers a desperate ultimatum, events swiftly escalate with shocking consequences.

Banshees is a tale about war. The film is set in 1923 at the height of the Civil War in Ireland. The fictional island of Inisherin (but filmed on the real islands of Inishmore and Achill) is not affected, but there is tension across the water on the mainland. “Cannon roars and gunfire can be heard some nights and so we’re very aware on the island that there’s a civil war taking place,” Farrell says. “But we’re also kind of shielded from it by virtue of being out of the way and a coastal outpost.”

“Do you devote yourself totally to life as an artist and disregard friends or lovers or family?” McDonagh says of the movie’s broader theme. “Is work the most important thing? Does it matter who gets hurt in the process? It’s a debate that isn’t answered by me or the film. I don’t think that you have to be a self-flagellating or dark or hateful person to do any kind of art, even dark art. But I definitely think the film explores that interesting conundrum.”

Click below to read his screenplay.

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