When you gain your own star on Hollytimber Boulevard, it's a sign that you're even more than just successful. Your name has actually come to be iconic. You're a walking brand... This is Roma Downey.
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When you obtain your very own star on Hollytimber Boulevard, it"s a sign that you"re even more than simply successful. Your name has become iconic. You"re a walking brand also... This is Roma Downey.

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Roma Downey obtained the ultimate celebrity endorsement in August 2016, her very own star on Hollyhardwood Boulevard. Alongside being a commemorated actress, in recent years she"s become a effective co-producer (through her husband Mark Burnett) of function films, via Ben-Hur being the talented couple"s latest giving. She talks to Cahir O"Doherty about fame, fortune, and also the Derry background that keeps her feet on the ground through all the ups and also downs.


In August 2016 the talented Co. Derry-born actress and producer Roma Downey made that transition and also hit the headlines after she was awarded the ultimate Hollywood accolade.

But never before one to remainder on her laurels, Downey"s latest $100 million co-manufacturing (with her husband Mark Burnett) is Ben-Hur, a modern re-informing of the classic 19th century bestmarketing tale of passion and also betrayal set throughout the life of Jesus (and that refers carefully to his teachings).

Downey, 59, takes it all in her stride. “What a time!” she tells the Irish Voice. “I acquired my star... (but she says “me” the north way) and also it was brilliant. In the middle of the speech, I sassist ‘Up Derry!’ Then I looked around at this sea of Hollyhardwood studio executives and all the wonderful support that I had actually and they were looking roughly and asking, ‘What did she simply say?’”


Downey kbrand-new tbelow was going to be a live streaming element on the day of the star"s unveiling, via technology transporting the minute as it was happening right right into the living rooms and the kitchens and also the hearts of civilization anywhere the human being.


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Roma Downey


“I had actually everyone keyed up and tipped off in Derry and also Donegal and other areas in the civilization where I have actually family members and also friends,” she explains. “I knew they were all gathered waiting, so exactly how could I not give them a shoutout?”


It was a bittersweet minute, but. “We had actually just shed one of our very own beloved citizens once Bishop Edward Daly had died. He had been laid out in the St. Eugene"s Cathedral, which is my house parish. Thousands and also hundreds of civilization had actually gone in to pay respects to him over the last few days and also the funeral was actually the same,” she claims.

“I assumed gosh what a stvariety coincidence that he was being hidden the same day I gained my star. Maybe it had the ability to lift some spirits a small bit.”

Downey remembers Bishop Daly, a legendary Derry man, well. “He offered to run the feis and also all the shows up in St. Columb"s Hall as soon as I was a little girl. I"d check out him eincredibly time I"d go back to Derry.


“In fact, I was earlier in Derry in April as soon as I got the Irish Film and also Television Award in Dublin. I headed up and also had actually a large perform at the city hotel with around 70 family members and friends and also girls I visited college with - and previous teachers – from Thornhill. The Humes (John and also his wife Pat) and also Bishop Daly had actually attended.”

With the civilization in the shape, it"s in, Downey thinks the central themes of Ben-Hur are essential currently more than ever before.

“The book and also film already have actually a storied history. In 1880 Ben Wallace created the book, later on in 1925 it became a silent movie, then a Broadmeans display, and then the 1959 beloved classical through Charlton Heston. Now 56 years later on we have actually our reinforming of this great story,” she states.

Two massive Hollywood studios, MGM and also Paramount Pictures carried Downey and also Burnett together with the Russian visionary director Timur Bekmambetov and John Ridley, who won the Osvehicle for Twelve Years a Slave, so the extremely finest of the ideal was pulled in.

“It was tough to fill the sandals of Charlton Heston yet we obtained Jack Huston, who originates from the famed dynasty household, his grandpa John (the actor and also director), and his aunt Anjelica. They have most Irish relations this household, and also it"s really turned out beautiful.”


Downey"s production agency is called LightWorkers Media, a belief and family members enterprise that developed, among others, the wildly famous Emmy nominated series The Scriptures on the History Channel. It"s part of her lifelengthy commitment to shine some light in the darkness.


“Let"s confront it, the human being that we"re living in feels incredibly dark at times,” she says. “More newly it feels scary. There"s a lot of fear, there’s the majority of uncertainty. As best we deserve to as filmmachines and also producers we want to bring content to illuminate the darkness. But while Ben-Hur isn"t a preachy movie, and also I do not even think you can classify it as a faith movie, it is an action movie and also a major drama.”

She"s not kidding. Director Bekmambetov puts cameras anywhere -- in the wheels of the chariots, the armor of the riders, even between the ears of the horses – every one of the cutting points to construct the scene and encertain it has actually you on the edge of your chair from the minute the equines come out of the founding entrances.


But unfortunately, audiences stayed away last weekend and Ben-Hur was saddled with a bomb of the summer banner, taking in an anemic – some would certainly go so far regarding say destructive – $11 million opening weekend.


With its $100 million budacquire that provides Ben-Hur the 3rd big-budget belief and also family movie from a big studio to perform poorly at the box office after Noah ($101.2 million domestic box office after a $125 million manufacturing cost) and the Moses and allegedly racist misfire Exodus: Gods and also Kings (which absorbed just a $65 million residential box office after a $140 million manufacturing cost).

But Downey have the right to take it on the chin bereason she"s in it for even more than just the fame and also fortune.

“I remember sitting in Beechhardwood Avenue on the couch in Derry in the middle sixties, I was simply a small son, watching Ben-Hur through my family never before reasoning one day I would certainly be part of the husband and also wife developing team to carry it ago to the display screen for a entirety new generation.”

Now she and also Burnett, the producer of hugely effective reality reflects choose Survivor and also The Voice, are dreaming together.

“I gained my star beside my husband"s and also I told him if there was anyone I was going to lie down on Hollyhardwood Boulevard via, it"s him,” she states.

“It"s lovely that they sat us up next to each various other. My youngsters were there and also Della Reese came out and also Pastor Rick Warren, who has end up being a very cshed frifinish, spoke. It was simply a great day of celebration and also we couldn"t have actually had actually even more fun.”

Reese and also Downey starred together in Touched by an Angel, the 1900s series that made Downey’s name in the U.S.


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“I was so pleased to have her tbelow. She spoke incredibly lovingly and it was very moving to have actually her take part. She has been favor a mom to me (Downey"s mommy passed away once she was 10) and also a grandmom to my youngsters,” Downey states.


How does she perform it? Work as an actress, a Hollytimber producer, and a mother all at once? “Truthfully I"ve been mainly concentrated on creating and I"m loving it, I have to tell you. I have such passion for what I execute. It adds to my life,” she claims.

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“When you don"t enjoy your job-related it feels choose work. But if you feel passionate about what you carry out it enwide range your life. I"m a woguy in my middle fifths, and also to have a new second chapter choose this is very interesting, to obtain to realize an additional dream.

“I have actually 3 kids, three huge dogs, a husband, a residence. I attempt to store on height of it all. As any kind of working mother will certainly tell you, it’s complex. I offered to be the queen of the carpool and also I"m grateful I had actually that time to really raise them, and also currently to come ago at a time as soon as their need of me is less and I have the right to really get to gain what I"m doing is good.”