What did you want to become when you were a child?
A footballer (soccer player). I’m a huge Man United fan- Eric Cantona was an idol of mine. I was pretty good as a kid. I ended up captaining my University team to an All Ireland League title, & earning my University Blue for representing Northern Irish Universities and all Ireland Universities.
How did your friends/family react when you told them that you wanted to become an actor?
My family has always been hugely supportive. Mum and Dad have completely backed me, both financially and emotionally. Without them I could never have gone to University, then subsequently Drama School and achieved any of the things I have. My sister has always believed in me too. My girlfriend is my rock. I have amazing friends, lots in the industry as well- we are all hugely proud and supportive of each other.
Which performance(s) confirmed that you wanted to be an actor?
In my second year at University, I played Soranzo in Tis a Pity She’s a Whore by John Ford. I had basically played football for the whole of my first year and wasn’t really committing to performing as an actor. My tutors and the Director (Rachel O’Riordan- who is just about to take over at the Lyric Hammersmith) basically said I had to audition if I was serious about my degree. I did, got the part and the acting bug really hit.
What advice do you wish you could give yourself as a 15 year old?
That’s a tough one. I feel as a young man, forming your own ideas on things and taking the path that feels right at that time is important. Not being forced in any direction. So baring that in mind, I think my advice would always be to follow your heart. Do things that make you happy, that you’re passionate about.
What aspects of your job do you like best/least?
Working as an actor is the best part of the job. To be able to create and play for a living is the most amazing privilege. Conversely, the worst side are those times when you’re not working. You have to do things you don’t feel the same passion for while you wait for that next great moment.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Hang up your costume! It’s about respecting everyone and everything in a working environment. Never believe you are more important than anyone. You are part of a collaborative. Treat people well and they will treat you well.
How do you handle criticism when it comes your way?
As an actor, you have to have thick skin. Your life is full of rejection, often for no particular reason at all. So criticism can hurt, but you learn to brush it off easily. Or learn from it to make you better. It comes down to your own integrity and self belief. If you work hard and are professional, you can be happy in yourself. The rest will work itself out.
What causes you creative blocks? How do you push through?
Some days it can seem like you’re just not feeling it. You don’t why, but it somehow doesn’t click. In those moments you simply have to trust in the work you’ve done and in your instincts.
What do you most value in others?
Caring and kindness in people. Life is full of people who are out for themselves. Good people who do selfless things are very special.
Which movie instantly puts you in a good mood?
Will Ferrell always puts me in a good mood. It must be such fun working with him. Watching the outtakes and bloopers from his stuff is hilarious.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
I have a few. Not sure I want to disclose though!!
What do you wish to achieve in the following decade?
To be a working actor!
Any advice for those wanting to become actors/live their best lives?
If you WANT to be an actor because you love the craft then you should pursue it wholeheartedly. Don’t let anyone tell you to go get a “normal job”. Follow your ambitions. But you do need to be aware of how hard it is. It’s not easy, you have to want it. You will experience rejection, but it’s about how you push through to the next one. Do NOT try to become an actor because you want to be “famous”.
Any last words?
Smile when you can. It’s nice to be nice. :)
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