Fassbender and stars attend ‘Frank’ opening in Dublin

Film inspired by Jon Ronson memoir depicts both joyous creativity and mental collapse

Patrick Freyne

Frank, a musical adventure story by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and featuring movie star Michael Fassbender wearing a large polystyrene head, was launched last night at Dublin's Lighthouse cinema.

Inspired by a newspaper memoir Ronson wrote about his time playing keyboards with the English outsider artist/musician Frank Sidebottom aka Chris Sievey, the film tells a moving, funny and fictional story about outsiderness, ambition, mental illness and the joy of making music.

Fittingly, the first-night audience featured musicians such as Julie Feeney, the bands Ham Sandwich and Villagers and Irish musical gurus including John Kelly and Dave Fanning.


The latter quizzed director Lenny Abrahamson and stars Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson in a short Q&A after the film.

“You’re the villain,” he observed to Gleeson, who plays a part based loosely on Ronson.

“Thank you, Dave,” said Gleeson, who attempted a spirited defence of his character.

Fassbender and Abrahamson both addressed the tonal difficulties that come with depicting both joyous creativity and mental collapse.

Fassbender mentioned the influence of the talented but deeply troubled musician Daniel Johnston (subject of the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston) on his performance.

Then everyone went outside to drink wine and don the Frank-themed masks that were on each cinema seat when we arrived (well, I did anyway).

Patrick Freyne

Patrick Freyne

Patrick Freyne is a features writer with The Irish Times