Michael Flatley’s Directorial Debut ‘Blackbird’ Gets U.K. Release (Exclusive)

Blackbird, the directorial debut of Lord of the Dance star and famed Riverdancer Michael Flatley and a spy thriller once thought lost forever after effectively disappearing following its glitzy 2018 world premiere, will soon land in U.K. cinemas.

The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Wildcard Distribution, which caused a stir earlier this month when it announced it would be releasing the long-awaited film in Ireland, will also oversee the U.K. release, with Blackbird now set to fly into both British and Irish theaters from Sept. 2.

Written, directed, produced, financed by and starring Flatley, the film sees the Irish-American dancer play Victor Blackley, a troubled ex-MI6 operative whose glamorous life of retirement as the owner of a nightclub and hotel in Barbados is turned upside down after he is pulled back into the world he left behind, reigniting an old flame.

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As previously reported, Blackbird — which also stars Eric Roberts and Patrick Bergin — had its world premiere at London’s Raindance Film Festival in September 2018, a screening where journalists and critics were famously shut out and there was little public reaction beyond criticism of the film’s poster, featuring its male stars amid an array of much-younger, bikini-clad and uncredited women.

After seeming to go AWOL immediately after this first screening and with few details available, the film developed something of a cult following, with many on social media regularly calling for its release. The mystery surrounding Blackbird grew even further when it was made the opening film of the inaugural Monaco Streaming Festival in July 2021, where Flatley won the best actor award.

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Speaking when the Irish release was first unveiled, Flatley blamed COVID-19 for the lengthy wait to bring his directorial debut to the public, saying the pandemic had “brought about many unprecedented production delays,” without going into detail. He also revealed that Sinéad O’Connor, who he described as “truly one of Ireland’s treasures,” had recorded the song for the film’s closing titles. “We put a lot into this project, and for me it’s very personal.”

Given its personal nature, Flatley may not have taken too kindly to the reaction to the first Blackbird trailer, also revealed earlier this month. Awash in sparkling beaches, flashy sports cars, pistol-toting spies, blood-splattered white tuxedos and glamorous women — and with numerous clips of Flatley wearing a jaunty fedora — the 90-second James Bond-ish teaser faced a wave of derision on Twitter, likened in one instance to a film that The Office‘s Michael Scott would make.

Scrutiny aside, almost everyone commenting on the trailer said they couldn’t wait to see the film.

See the trailer below:

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