James Flynn, ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ and ‘Vikings’ Producer, Dies at 57
Irish film producer James Flynn, co-founder of Metropolitan Film Productions and co-producer on the Oscar-nominated The Banshees of Inisherin, had died. He was 57.
Flynn died Saturday due to an unknown illness, his production company told The Irish Times in a statement. He was surrounded by his family, wife Juanita Wilson and children Alex and Anna.
His death comes amid a successful awards season for The Banshees of Inisherin and the film’s Oscar run, with the Martin McDonagh-directed movie starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson up for nine honors, including best picture.
Flynn served in various producing capacities on a number of notable movies and TV series across his decades-long career. Among the more recent films he produced are the Ridley Scott-directed and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon-starring The Last Duel, the Disney+ released sequel Disenchanted and Neil Jordan’s mystery-thriller Greta led by Isabelle Huppert. On the TV side, he served as an executive producer on Vikings and its spinoff Valhalla, as well as the RTE and AMC+ Irish crime drama Kin, starring Charlie Cox, Aiden Gillen and Ciarán Hinds.
Throughout his career, Flynn’s work elevated Irish filmmakers and actors through various domestic and international co-productions, including several members of The Banshees of Inisherin team. That includes Jordan’s 2009 romantic drama Odine with Farrell and McDonagh’s 2014 Catholic Church abuse drama Calvary, starring Gleeson as well as Kin‘s Gillen.
His other notable film work includes rom-coms Leap Year, Love, Rosie and Ella Enchanted, all of which he produced; executive producing Irish directors Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn’s Cherrybomb starring Rupert Grint and Robert Sheehan; co-producing period romances Tristan + Isolde and Becoming Jane; as well as co-producing 2002’s The Count of Monte Cristo and associate producing 2004’s King Arthur. On the small screen, he helped shepherd as a producer and EP genre and period series like Into the Badlands, Penny Dreadful, Reign, The Borgias, Camelot and The Tudors.
Flynn would enter the Irish film industry as head of development at John Boorman’s Merlin Films International. Between 1993 and 1997, he served as the business manager and then deputy CEO of the Irish Film Board (now Screen Ireland), where he analyzed movies and TV dramas for development and production finance loans. During this time, he produced Angela’s Ashes and another Gleeson-starrer Sweety Barrett for the big screen and TV movies like Her Own Rules and A Secret Affair alongside the series Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog.
In 1997, he’d launch Metropolitan Film Productions Limited with his wife before establishing Octagon Films in 2002, where he would develop and produce films for the international market. That included the 2004 Irish comedy Rory O’Shea Was Here, starring James McAvoy and Steven Robertson.
A member of the Irish Film and TV Academy, Flynn produced a number of IFTA-winning series including Vikings, Penny Dreadful, Kin and Love/Hate, as well as the IFTA-nominated movie Tomato Red: Blood Money. He would garner Oscar nominations for his work on the 2008 short film The Door and the 2009 animated feature The Secret of Kells.