Michael Flatley’s first film as writer, director and star

A poster for ‘Blackbird’ suggests the plot of ‘Casablanca’, with Flatley in the Bogart role

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.”

So spoke the prophet in the Book of Revelation. Okay, that's a little unfair. There is every chance that Blackbird, Michael Flatley's first film as writer, director and star, will not actually herald the apocalypse. It might even be quite good. Might it not? We must travel hopefully.

At any rate, Flatley, a dancer you might have heard of from Chicago, has just launched the first poster for a project that risks vainglory by nodding towards one of Hollywood's greatest ever entertainments. We're not kidding.

The early synopsis reads: “Troubled secret agent ‘Blackbird’ abruptly retires from service and opens a luxurious nightclub in the Caribbean to escape the dark shadows of his past. An old flame arrives and reignites love in his life but she brings danger with her.”


Cough, Casablanca, cough! What? I didn't say anything. I was just clearing my throat.

Flatley has drafted in poor old Eric Roberts to play a sinister businessman who, if the poster is any guide, asks somebody to be quiet at some point.

Committing the sort of sartorial error one would usually only forgive in an Australian, the Illinoisian Flatley occupies the central position in a white dinner jacket.

To our right we see the actress who has been drafted in to take the Ingrid Bergman role. It is the 59-year-old… Ha ha! I am only joking. Nicole Evans (for it is she) made her first credited appearance on film in 2011 and, unless she has a truly horrible picture in the attic, is probably just a little younger than Flatley, who will turn 60 this month. That's how this business works.

You won't need to be told that Patrick Bergin is also in it. He's always in these things.

Produced by Dance Lord Productions (beats me), Blackbird does not yet have a confirmed release date in these territories. Flatley will want to get it out in the US – the star's home country – before the end of the year. Oscar season is looming.