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Irish Rap Trio Kneecap Hit Sundance With Smoky Stunt as Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Fassbender-Starrer

Main Street was smoking in the colors of the Irish flag on Thursday.

The vapors came courtesy of hip-hop trio Kneecap which hit the Sundance Film Festival in Park City with an eye-catching stunt to signal the world premiere of their big screen debut in Rich Peppiatt’s film (of the same name) Kneecap. Liam Óg Ó hAnnaidh, Naoise Ó Cairealláin and JJ Ó Dochartaigh arrived in front of the Egyptian in a fully kitted-out Northern Irish PSNI Land Rover that featured the band’s name spray painted across the side.

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Per intel received by The Hollywood Reporter, the stunt was orchestrated in collaboration with Dublin-based creative agency the Tenth Man designed as a way “to provoke reaction and conversation around the Irish language and Irish politics as the world watches.”

They’ve had a lot of eyes on the film over the past 24 hours. Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender co-stars in the semi-fictionalized film which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics in what marks the first major sale of this year’s Sundance Film Festival as first reported by Variety.

Per the fest’s official description, the trio “play themselves in this heightened and wildly entertaining tale of Kneecap’s origins, with Michael Fassbender in tow as the charismatic father figure turned political martyr. Armed with a blend of English and native Irish verses and blazing, politically charged rhymes, Kneecap’s music takes us on a ketamine-fueled, rollicking trip to encounter the meaning of pure defiance.” Peppiatt’s film is in the native Irish language and its themes follow the “anarchic Belfast trio” who become unlikely figureheads of a civil rights movement to save their mother tongue.

Per the fest, there are 80,000 native Irish speakers in Ireland with 6,000 in the North of Ireland. Kneecap marks the first Irish language film to screen at Sundance. Peppiatt directed from his own script. Producers included Trevor Birney and Jack Tarling in association with Great Point Media, Naughty Step, DMC Film, a Fine Point Films, Mother Tongues Films Production and Curzon, in co-production with Wildcard.

“When we were making plans for Sundance we knew we wanted to show the world what Kneecap are all about. We wanted to do something big, something Sundance won’t forget,” Kneecap’s manager Daniel Lambert said in a statement. “So we spoke with the team at the Tenth Man and hatched a plan to reclaim the notorious Peeler Land Rover and commandeer it as our own.”

Added Tenth Man CEO Ken Robertson: “We’ve been big Kneecap fans for a very long time so when we heard that their new film was to be the first Irish language film to premiere at Sundance Film Festival in Utah, we knew this was a cultural moment that needed to be celebrated in true Kneecap style.”

As for what happens to the Land Rover now, Peppiatt told Variety that it’s possible they will set it on fire much like their infamous mural. “Quite possibly — there’s no plan to send it back!” the filmmaker told the publication.

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