Snow Patrol news & community since 2008. Feeling Those Good Vibes Over Hooley Biopic

The veteran of Belfast’s 1970s music scene tells JOANNE SAVAGE how it feels to have his life story made into a film

THE much-anticipated new movie about the life of Belfast punk godfather Terri Hooley will have its world premiere at the Ulster Hall on May 31. 

Good Vibrations will be the opening film of this year’s Belfast Film Festival and tells the story of how Hooley helped local bands like The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers find a platform on the ‘scene’ in 1970s Ulster and beyond, while his record store became a cool hub for musos, something of an oasis of pop culture amid the war-torn city.

Hooley’s story begins in the 1960s, when he set out on a teenage attempt at a music career, to last year’s news that the now iconic Good Vibrations shop – which has moved around different parts of the city – will finally close its doors.

The script for the film was written by east Belfast author Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry, and stars Richard Dormer as Hooley.

It has the added cachet of a soundtrack provided by DJ David Holmes, plus Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, Johnny Quinn and Nathan Connolly have all invested in the project.

The idea for the film was first mooted 10 years ago, but Terri is still finding the concept of his life story being transferred to the big screen quite hard to take in.

“It’s unbelievable,” he says. “I just still can’t believe it’s happening.

“I have to keep pinching myself.

“So far I’ve only seen a four minute clip of it and I thought it was fantastic. But I’ve decided to wait to watch the whole thing until it’s launched.

“I’m hoping they’ll arrange a private viewing because I think I will probably be in tears.

“They screened a rough cut of it in London and Gary Lightbody and Johnny Quinn from Snow Patrol texted me to say they thought it was amazing. I’ll take their word for it.”

His life has been defined by his love of music, so naturally Terri is particularly interested in the film’s soundtrack.

“David Holmes called me from LA when it was finished to say he was really pleased with it.

“And he did me a massive favour on this because he knows I’m a huge Shangri-Las fan from the 60s – some Shangri-Las stuff is on the soundtrack – and he got Mary Weiss to email me asking me what I wanted signed.

“When David comes over for the film premiere he’s going to bring two signed posters for me so it’s double excitement.

“I know he’s also got some country and some reggae on there too.”

Lisburn actor Richard Dormer, Terri confides, has managed to pick up all his mannerisms and ways with almost unnerving accuracy.

“He can do me better than I can do myself. But he can’t drink as much as me.

“He and I went out to the John Hewitt for a drink when he was preparing for the part and people were saying they’d never seen me so quiet, but it was because I knew he was studying me and I found that very strange – quite freaky really.”

Does he recognise that it’s because he’s had such a mad, brilliant, colourful life that it’s now the basis of an entire film?

“Well I don’t know,” he says. “It hasn’t been boring anyway.” Which is to put it mildly.

Directed by husband and wife team Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D’Sa, Good Vibrations has been funded by BBC Films, the Irish Film Board and Northern Ireland Screen, and boasts a cast and crew teeming with local talent.

“I didn’t visit the set too much while it was in production because I knew with Glenn and Lisa it was in such good hands,” adds Hooley.

“Many of the crew who worked on this film actually worked for less than they would normally because they wanted to see Good Vibrations made.

“They did this for love of the story.”

Tickets for Good Vibrations can be purchased at the Belfast Film Festival website at

The festival runs from May 31 until June 10 with screenings held in venues across the city.

Other highlights include the UK premiere of Shadowdancer, written by ITV’s political editor Tom Brady and starring Gillian Anderson and Clive Owen.

The festival finishes with the European premiere of Oscar-winner Terry George’s Whole Lotta Sole, a comedy filmed locally starring Brendan Fraser and Colm Meaney, with original screen score by Snow Patrol.

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Categorised in: Articles, Movie: Good Vibrations, Soundtracks

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