Conor MacNeill

Taking to the stage in London’s West End, Conor MacNeill stars in The Ferryman which has received glowing reviews in the theatre world. We find out what challenges the actor has faced along the way.

You’re BAFTA nominated! That’s quite an achievement. When your work is released, what are your intentions for them?
Thank you very much. It was such a lovely surprise to be nominated and totally unexpected for us all. I think the intentions for any piece of work comes in stages – the first goal is getting the script done, getting the ideas out onto the paper. Personally when it’s at that stage I can’t see any further than the mountain that is the story. The next stage is getting the right team around it and eventually bringing it all to life. After that it all becomes incredibly unpredictable, how it is received and the journey it takes is entirely out of anyone’s control.

With a vast and growing film industry, how do you make an individual mark as an actor?
Wow that’s a tough one. I think to approach any job with that in mind could be a bit dangerous, to the project, as a whole. Every actor inherently brings an individuality simply by interpreting the character in their own unique way. Being truthful to the writing and trying to serve the writers story is always my main aim. So I suppose simply being yourself is the best you can do – slightly cheesy thing to say I know, but I think it’s true.

When writing, where do you draw your inspirations from?
The pieces I have written to date have all been influenced in someway by events I’ve witnessed or stories I’ve been told. Also things you read or sometimes a sentence you overhear on the street can send your mind off creating a whole world.

Is there something you have always wanted to particularly write or make, for a long time?
Yes, I have an idea I’ve been wrestling with for the past three years or so, set against the back drop of the Irish famine. It’s such a complex and tricky piece of history, but incredibly rich in a dramatic sense.

What has been the hardest part to overcome in your career, what challenges have you had to overcome?
I think acting always has its hurdles. I honestly think survival is the trickiest part, not throwing the towel in and picking another career which might seem more stable. But honestly, overall , I don’t feel like I can complain, I am still here doing it and I love it.

You’re part of the cast for the new play “The Ferryman” which has been received amazingly well. Could you tell in the early days of rehearsal period that this was something different? Were there any concerns or doubts?
I think when you see Jez and Sam’s names on anything, you know it’s going to be something special. From the early readings there was definitely something magic in the air. Through the rigour of rehearsals we always hung onto that thread of magic.

What has been the best part of “The Ferryman” experience, for you?
Undoubtedly working with this crew and cast. We are an incredibly tight knit bunch and the feeling of security I have on stage, in particular with the other lads, is thrilling. Also I have not laughed this much on a job in a while.

The Ferryman is at the Gielgud Theatre, London until 6 January 2018

Interview by Ian Casey
Photography by Andrea Vecchiato
Grooming by Gloria Penaranda
Styling by Valentina Tiurbini

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