Talking 'The Yank' with Director Sean Lackey

The  following is a transcript from the LIVE Community Chat held here at TheWildGeese.com on Thursday, June 19, 2014 with with Sean Lackey, writer and director of the upcoming film release, "The Yank."  Some editing has been applied for clarity.

The Wild Geese:  Céad míle fáilte, a chairde! So glad to see each one of you who have stopped by for this evening’s LIVE Wild Geese Community Chat here at TheWildGeese.com.

With us from Ohio, U.S.A. today is Sean Lackey, the writer and director of the film “The Yank.”  My name is Ryan O’Rourke, and I’ll be the moderating this evening’s chat from here in the west of Ireland.  We’ll now turn it over for the next little while to Sean. Welcome, Sean!

Sean Lackey:  Great to be here, thank you Ryan, Ger and the rest of the gang in Wild Geese!

The Wild Geese:  Sean, how about telling us how this film came about to begin with?

Sean Lackey:  Sure.  My parents are from Clare and Cavan and I'm first generation in the U.S. I never went to Dublin (my parents wouldn't go near it, with all the relatives on the coast).  So I went to a wedding in Dublin for some friends and it was like a whole new side to Ireland I never had seen.....multinational companies, hustle and bustle.  So I thought what if a an Irish American went to Ireland for the first time, but his family, himself....they all think its like John Ford's "The Quiet Man."  So that's when it began.

Wild West Irish Tours:  The trailer looks great!

Sean Lackey:  Thanks, Wild West

The Wild Geese:  Sean, is this the first screenplay you've written / directed?

Sean Lackey:  Yes, it is. I was an actor for Second City and always loved comedy. I thought nothing is more funny than the truth....and the Irish.

Jim Curley:  Are we Americans supposed to take the term "The Yank" as a pejorative? Has the meaning changed over the years?

Sean Lackey:  Where my family comes from in County Clare, they still call us "yanks."

Wild West Irish Tours:  Where in Clare?

Sean Lackey:  Just outside of Miltown Malbay.

Wild West Irish Tours:  Nice!

Sean Lackey:  We shot there....actually took over the town...as well as Doolin, the cliffs of Moher, and then over to Dublin.

Wild West Irish Tours:  We love Colm Meaney...what is he like to work with?

Sean Lackey:  Colm Meaney is a great actor and really gracious man in-person. He really made me look better than I was. And afterwards, he went out with everyone and had a few pints in Miltown. We'd listen to Joanie Madden in town....her family is from Miltown as well.

Wild West Irish Tours.:  I am so happy to hear that.

Gerry Regan:  Sean, a great pleasure to chat with you. So many questions! I'm intrigued by this project.  When I viewed the trailer, I never imagined you'd be so prominently featured. I mean, writing and directing a feature film is challenging enough, but to become a major character -- outstanding!

Sean Lackey:  Its actually a lot cheaper to do everything yourself...I also cooked, cleaned, did the books.....

Fran Reddy:  LOL

Gerry Regan:  LOL, Sean, hearing about your experience in Second City, this all makes a bit more sense. Looking forward to seeing your performance throughout the film. You seem to have quite a lot of face time. Tell me about YOUR character.

Sean Lackey:  Well my character is the straight guy. When you have so many funny, loud characters, you can't try to overshadow or match. Plus I wanted my character to be utterly clueless (he's a metaphor for Irish America...sorry....I'm making fun of it) So, I've been practicing that my whole life, I can pull.

Jim Curley:  What's it like getting funding for pictures in Ireland these days?

Sean Lackey:  It's very hard for a first time writer, director, cook...to get funding. The U.S. does not fund the arts like other countries or have co-treaties (canada, etc) with Ireland, so I had to convince people of my dream and have them come along.

Wild West Irish Tours:  When does it open here in Ireland?

Sean Lackey:  It opens....shhhhh, not official.....in Ireland in the fall in theaters. How many and where, its being worked on now.

Gerry Regan:  Sean, are you 'The Yank,' then?

Sean Lackey:  Yes, I am the Yank....the metaphor.

The Wild Geese:  I'm curious how you got so many big names on-board with this film, Sean. I mean, it looks like it turned out great, but how did you entice folks like Colm Meaney (and several others) to give a "rookie" like yourself a chance?

Sean Lackey:  They liked the script.

The Wild Geese:  That speaks highly of your writing ability then, Sean.

Sean Lackey:  Fred Willard is actually from Cleveland and did Second City. Kevin Farley did Second City and was friends of my friends. Its all about connections and being good to people. If you're cool, they'll work with you.

Wild West Irish Tours:  I thinking what you seem to be poking fun at - needs a bit of that.  We love Fred Willard too!

Sean Lackey:  Hey WWIT, there is a scene where Fred, as my dad, tries to teach me about Ireland and all the famous authors. He takes me to a garden where there are monuments honoring the authors, but when he tries to tell me what they're famous for, he completely gets it wrong...it's soooo funny. One of my favorites.

Wild West Irish Tours:  Got to see that scene in particular!!

Fran Reddy:  A great mix of characters.  :-)

The Wild Geese:  I noticed in the trailer that Kevin Farley was channeling a bit of his late brother, Chris (who is one of my all-time favourites).  :-)

Sean Lackey:  Yes, we let Kevin loose in the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse and followed him with a camera....great, funny, super-nice guy.  His mother came to Ireland with us. The last time she was over was with Chris, promoting "Tommy Boy."

The Wild Geese:  Wow ... cool.  I've seen "Tommy Boy" somewhere around 73 times.  :-)

Kelly O'Rourke:  Looks very funny - can't wait to see it. Colm Meany and Charlotte Bradley were great together in "The Boys and Girl from County Clare."  The literary scene sounds great, haha!

Wild West Irish Tours:  Any movie with Colm Meaney and Fred Willard in it has to be a riot.

Gerry Regan:  Is there any sex in 'The Yank'? That can be fertile ground for laughs with the Irish, for some reason. The Irish sex manual with all-blank pages comes to mind.  And the tag line, "Paddy, will you get up off me."

Sean Lackey:  I tried to make this clean and fun...in the spirit of The Gathering, which is family...you can watch with your grandkids or grandparents. Plus I didn't need the sex or blue humor

The Wild Geese:  Glad to hear it, Sean.

Kelly O'Rourke:  Good on you!

Wild West Irish Tours:  Good man - it nice that you are not going down that road.

Sean Lackey:  You didnt have to go there, with all the talent and the simple Irish things that are soooo funny.

The Wild Geese:  Absolutely!

Kelly O'Rourke:  I wish more film makers realised that!

Gerry Regan:  Rated G or PG then, Sean, or is it rated in the U.S. yet?

Fran Reddy:  Will it be at all major theaters Sean?  I'm in Canada and I don't want to miss it!

Sean Lackey:  I'm hoping it will come to U.S. theaters, but not until we finalize a distributor over here. Irish theaters in September.

Wild West Irish Tours:  Is there a facebook page for you and the "filum?"  :-)

Fran Reddy: https://www.facebook.com/theyankmovie

Sean Lackey:  Thanks, Fran.

Gerry Regan:   Sean, tell us a bit about the back story, about how a friend of yours died, and this encouraged you to recommit to accomplishing this film.  I take it that at one point you almost gave up.

Sean Lackey:  My high school buddy and college roommate, Terry, died in November of 2010. He had a great career, great wife and kids....and then gone. I was "finding myself" and messing around with Ideas. When he died, I said that's it....I'm doing this.

The Wild Geese:  Love that, Sean.  JUST. DO. IT.

Fran Reddy:  Fabulous.

Sean Lackey:  Thanks. There's a lot of heart and tears in this, I hope it comes through

Gerry Regan:  Is "The Yank" dedicated to Terry or mentioned in it?

Sean Lackey:  Yes....the very end of the movie...with Black 47 playing the final tune

Jim Curley:  With the lack of artistic co-treaties between the U.S. and ireland, did you ever consider doing the U.S. scenes in Vancouver or Toronto?

Sean Lackey:  No, Jim. Ohio has a film credit of 25-35% of cost. You have to shoot the majority of it here in Ohio. New York has a great credit too. A lot of scenes were shot outdoors in ireland but INDOORS in Ohio. That way, I could maximize the credit.

Jim Curley:  Ah, the mind of a sharp businessman. Good for you.

Gerry Regan:  What year was your trip to Dublin, the germination of the script

Sean Lackey:  The trip was in 2004. I started writing on a napkin on the plane...just an outline. It took a couple of years to write, then I put it down. Then in 2010 ...

Kelly O'Rourke:  I love that you are capturing the difference between Irish culture and Irish-American culture.

Sean Lackey:  Thanks, Kelly. Its funny as to how the Irish view Irish Americans. I don't want to go down a route, but its not what WE think. Anyways, they all have YANKS in the family so they got a kick out of it when I showed in Galway last summer. ..an earlier version.

Fran Reddy:  The trailer looks amazing.. and hilarious!

Gerry Regan:  Sean, did you marry an Irish woman? Is this art imitating life? (I don't know the ending, though, just saying ...)

Sean Lackey:  No, I was drawn to the dark side...an Italian (just kidding, pizans) My first marriage.

Jim Curley:  Any new projects germinating in that mind of yours?

Sean Lackey:  yes, I've written two scripts and the first will be done this year in South Africa.. I learned that at Cannes....glad I went! the second, I'm working on a MAJOR cast. I'll keep you posted.

Jim Curley:  Liam Neeson???

Sean Lackey:  I wish. It's a comedy, so Second City folk.

Gerry Regan:  What was the final budget for the film, Sean? Did the actors work for a percent or for a song?

Sean Lackey:  Gerry....I have to keep the budget under lids, but everyone was paid. If you go to their agents and say "instead of pay, can they work for a percentage?"....they'll hang up the phone.

Sean Lackey:  Thanks so much for all your support and questions and we can chat at the showing too. I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks again and I'll do what I can to promote Wild Geese...its a great, passionate project like its members

The Wild Geese:  Sean, let me know if you'll be back in Ireland promoting it.

Sean Lackey: I will Ryan. Hopefully in September

The Wild Geese:  Excellent ... hope we can meet at that time.

Wild West Irish Tours:  Best of luck Sean! We will be out there talking up your film wherever we can!! (we already friended you on Facebook) :)

Fran Reddy:  Can't wait to see it eventually Sean, looks like a hoot!

Kelly O'Rourke:  Great chat - thanks everyone.

Sean Lackey:  Thanks, everyone!

Fran Reddy:  Slainté!

The Wild Geese:  Go raibh míle maith agaibh, gach duine, agus oiche mhaith.

To learn more about 'The Yank,' visit http://theyankmovie.com/

You can also read Sarah Nagle's review of "The Yank."

Views: 453

Tags: Arts, Clare, Dublin, Film

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