A Bright Yellow Films, Samson Films and Groove International production, The Ghost of Richard Harris (1 x 90’) is a unique feature documentary about a once famous actor, poet, lover and singer, whose prodigious career was overshadowed by a reputation for drinking and riotous behaviour earning him the epithet “hell raiser”. Exploring this complex, flawed genius, the documentary features Harris’ three sons, BAFTA Award-winning actor Jared Harris (Chernobyl, The Crown), actor Jamie Harris (Carnival Row, West Side Story) and director Damian Harris (Brave The Dark, Wilde Wedding). The Ghost of Richard Harris will air in the UK on Sky Arts and streaming service NOW later in 2022.
Jonathan Ford, Managing Director at AMR comments, “This fascinating documentary offers an intriguing and insightful look into the life of a person we all know from his global work and talent. We’re delighted to add this incredible feature to our expanding non-fiction catalogue.”
Director Adrian Sibley adds, “I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Harris through his son Damian at the Savoy to talk about making a documentary about his life and times. He’d seen my film with Anthony Hopkins where he talked about drinking and thought we’d work well together. Richard took me out for supper and I had one of the best nights of my life. He was the ultimate storyteller and everyone in the restaurant stopped to listen to him but I still felt that he was only talking to me. I knew I could make a fascinating film about this unusual man, but unfortunately soon afterwards he became ill and died. Now on the 20th anniversary of his death, using hours of unheard audio tapes of interviews with Richard over many years, I have the opportunity to actually work with him from beyond the grave and make the film we discussed, with him unravelling the story of what he calls “a turbulent journey” of “great highs and lows”, in short, a life that few can even imagine.”
Damian, Jared and Jamie Harris say “We have been approached several times over the years to participate in various documentaries about our Father. We turned them all down, because Adrian’s was the one our Father wanted to tell his tale. As sons, we all saw Dad differently, through the lens he allowed us to see him by. As a man he resisted being discovered, jealously guarding his mystery, delighting in his ultimate creation, the character “Richard Harris.” This is a remarkable opportunity for us to re-engage with our Father once more, beyond the memories we have, or the dreams in which he appears to us. It’s a story told in hindsight, frankly, without sentiment, but always with affection. Like all good mysteries we don’t know where the story will lead us, but we welcome the chance to embrace the complete man.”
The Ghost of Richard Harris is the story of a legendary Irishman, perhaps the greatest actor Ireland has produced, who still lives in the hearts of his countrymen. And it’s the story of a father whose three sons still think about him every day, since his unexpected death twenty years ago. They are still in search of, and argue about, who he really was. Directed by Adrian Sibley, Bright Yellow Films (The Show Must Go On, The Road To Palmyra), produced by David Collins, Samson Films (Once, Float Like a Butterfly, Wildfire) and George Waud, Groove International – who most recently was a financier/co-producer of Cabaret that just won 7 Olivier Awards. This is not a simple biographical documentary. It is a haunting of the people and places that were dear to Richard Harris, told in a unique way through unheard confessional interviews where Harris again speaks to his sons, family and friends.
Jared and his brothers’ relationship together has been one of the strongest things in their lives since their parents divorced. They talk about what made their dad great, and what didn’t, and how he could be many different people. This film will reveal the different Richard Harrises: The poet, the pop singer, the brawler, the womaniser, the political rebel and the drunkard.
The Ghost of Richard Harris is financed by Groove International and Screen Ireland alongside Sky Arts. Executive Producers are Celine Haddad (for Screen Ireland) along with David Blake Knox and Mike Downey.