Darragh McGann is Stand-In for Marlon Brando
"Divine Rapture" starring Marlon Brando, Debra Winger, Johnny Depp, John Hurt and a host of Irish Actors began filming in what promised to be a block buster comedy.
For many years, the star of "The Godfather, Marlon Brando wanted to come to Ireland and make a movie, and when the script for this film, which would feature Brando as a Catholic Priest trying to rebuild his flock came along, he immediately jumped at the chance. Assembling some of the biggest names in Hollywood, Ballycotton was transformed into a movie lot, with cameras, lights and sound stages dotted all over the tiny village.
While the filming of the movie came to a sudden halt after just two weeks, for one person, it proved to be a life changing experience.
Darragh McGann was just 22 at the time when he recieved a call from line producer John Downes, asking him to report to the set of the film. Darragh had previous acting experience from his college days, but nothing could prepare him for what he was about to do. Arriving on a cool but sunny Tuesday morning in mid July, Darragh was brought to a set, where he was then told that he would be the "Stand In" for Marlon Brando!! It appeared to be just like a dream, yet when Mr Brando arrived on set for rehearsal, the young singer was introduced to the screen legend, and with a shake of hands it was down to work.
Darragh was told to watch the rehearsal closely, as when Brando would go to his dressing room, he would have to do exactly what Marlon did, so as to get the cameras focused, and the lights in the correct positions.
Little did Darragh know that first day when he was with the person he knew as Superman's Father, that some days later, he would recieve recognition and advice from a true legend.
It was a warm and sunny day, that both Marlon Brando and Darragh were on top of a cliff, awaiting to shoot, when Mr Brando called his "Stand In" to come to his side. With a glint in his eye and the famous Godfather voice, Marlon simply said to Darragh "Son, I think you should do something with that voice".
The surprise is all of this was, the previous evening, Darragh, who loved to sing anywhere at anytime, was singing to a few people on the set, but little did he know, that there was one person close by who heard him!!
As the film crews packed up and time passed by, Darragh did get voice coaching and began singing more. Yet it was in 2008 when he was recording his first album "A New Beginning" that he was reminded of the advice he had recieved from Marlon Brando. While searching from music in a filing cabinet at his home, Darragh discovered a Call Sheet from Divine Rapture, and there in Black and White were the names of both Marlon Brando and Darragh McGann, and it was then Darragh realised what he had been told to do, and now he was doing it.
In 2009, Darragh released his first album, and on the sleeve notes, he gave due recognition to Marlon Brando for putting faith in him, in ways a stranger, but in another sense, a fellow artist.
Below is a short extract taken from a documentary that was filmed in 2009 entitled "Ballybrando" and now to the future. The word is that this film has not gone away, but a new script has been written and hopefully one day soon, Hollywood will return, but sadly this time, without the Godfather.
May he forever rest in Peace.