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Gleeson's flying visit to launch film festival

It was a flying visit for Hollywood actor Brendan Gleeson last night when he stepped out to officially launch the Jameson International Film Festival.

The Intermission star, who arrived fashionably late, took to the stage at Tripod nightclub for just five minutes alongside fellow screen star Nora Jane Noone, before making a quick dash to the Peacock Theatre.

The generous Irish actor explained how he had agreed to make a special appearance at the theatre's production of Little Gem, by play-writing newcomer Elaine Murphy.

"I have to be on stage for eight o'clock," Brendan told the Herald. "I really wish I could stay around and chat to everyone and catch up with old friends, but it's just not possible tonight."

"I would hate to let them down at the Peacock," he added.

Brendan went on to explain how he was still coming down to earth after the rave reviews he has received for his performance as Winston Churchill in Into The Storm recently.

"I filmed it almost two years ago, it's funny how there's so much fuss," he said. "I am delighted with all the positive coverage. It's been great."

The actor admits that this year's festival will hold a special significance for him, given that it's the first following the death of Michael Dwyer, the event's original founder.

lnolan@herald.ie