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Interview with Conor MacNeill from the cast of The Ferryman

Conor MacNeill
Conor MacNeill

Conor MacNeill can currently be seen in the West End production of Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman directed by Sam Mendes and has just finished filming The Current War opposite Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicholas Holt.

Conor recently took time out to answer a few questions.

Q: You have just finished filming The Current War. Are you able to tell us about that?
Conor: Yes, I had an incredible time working with Alfonzo on that. He is a hugely special director. I play the role of William Kemmler who was the first man ever to be sentenced to death by the electric chair. It was intense, the pressure of playing a real person, but the experience was immensely rewarding.

Q: When will it be aired?
Conor: It is slated for a December/January release.

Q: How ‘easy’ do you find it switching from screen to stage acting?
Conor: If I’m honest I never put that much thought to the change in medium. The actual approach to character and acting itself is all pretty much the same. The only difference with stage is the technicality of voice and looking after your health I suppose. Making sure you maintain stamina and energy for 8 shows a week. Also you can’t shout cut on stage when you can’t remember a line ha ha.

Q: What can you tell us about ‘The Ferryman’?
Conor: The Ferryman is an epic tale of love and family set in the 1980s, against the backdrop of the conflict in the north of Ireland. I’ve never been so excited reading a script before, Jez is nothing short of genius.

Q: Can you tell us about the character that you play and how they fit into the storyline?
Conor: I play Diarmuid, one of the Corcoran brothers who visits the Carney family farm from Derry city. The Corcoran brothers bring a contrasting take on life in the country at the time. Their city life is incredibly violent and war torn which is a world away from the life their cousins lead in countryside Northern Ireland. I suppose all the lads represent the hugely conflicting, complex ideas and emotions that were being felt across the north at the time.

Q: With 5-star reviews at the Royal Court Theatre and selling out its entire run before opening – what is it about this production that makes it a ‘must-see’
Conor: Ha ha, bit of a tricky one to answer. But I would say a phenomenal script and incredible direction. Jez’s writing manages to make you laugh and cry in one fell swoop. And Sam has pulled together something which is both epic and intimate at the same time. Also I personally feel very humbled to be on stage with this cast. Their acting is inspiring.

*****

Conor has been Bafta nominated for his short film The Party. 2016 saw him star in NETFLIX’s debut feature film and war thriller The Siege of Jadotville opposite Jamie Dornan & Mark Strong as Corporal Frank “Radio op” Williams. Conor had a pivotal role, once again opposite Jamie Dornan, in BBC thriller The Fall Conor is currently starring as a new series regular in Channel 4’s brilliant comedy No Offence. A fantastic writer, Conor has written the screenplay for his first Feature film The Laughter of Our Children, which was announced winner of the 2014 Northern Ireland Screen New Talent Focus, adjudicated by Film 4 & the BFI. The film shot early 2016 directed by BAFTA and EMMY award winning director David Blair with Conor taking the leading role of Ciaran alongside a stellar cast including Stephen Graham, Michelle Fairley and Robert Sheehan. The script for his short film The Party was selected by the Irish Film Board as part of their After ’16 scheme which was part of the centenary memorial of the 1916 Easter Rising. Conor performed to critical acclaim as Bartley McCormick opposite Daniel Radcliffe in the hugely successful West End revival of Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmann directed by Michael Grandage. Reprising his role in the same production on Broadway, the show received 6 TONY Award nominations.

Jez Butterworth’s epic new play The Ferryman transfers to the West End. Directed by Sam Mendes, the cast includes multi award-winning actor Paddy Considine, Laura Donnelly and Genevieve O’Reilly.
Northern Ireland, 1981. The Carney farmhouse is a hive of activity with preparations for the annual harvest. A day of hard work on the land and a traditional night of feasting and celebrations lie ahead. But this year they will be interrupted by a visitor.

The Ferryman
Gielgud Theatre, London
Booking Period: 20 June 2017 – 6 January 2018
Running time: tbc
Age recommendation:14+ (contains strong language)

Author

  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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