The multi-talented Irish actor Eoin Macken shares with us his latest work and what it takes to make it in today’s entertainment world.
There’s something hopeful when you hear or read the story of how an actor began their career in the industry. Of course, a lot of time luck is involved but most of the time, it’s just the way the universe works to present that exact opportunity at the exact time.
Irish actor Eoin Macken’s extraordinary story began unexpectedly while he was attending University College Dublin. He and a friend were injured and couldn’t play football, so they were really bored and decided to audition for a play. His friend coerced Macken that there weren’t enough girls in the science department (he was studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology) but there were lots of girls involved in drama.
After acting in the drama department’s play and participating in a university fashion show, Macken was catapulted into a full-blown modelling career. Macken’s credentials have broadened into being an actor, a filmmaker, a director, and a cinematographer. Who knew that simple boredom could spark such artistic talents and lead him to another new world to explore?
DAMAN: Hi Eoin, awesome to have you with us. How are you doing these days?
Eoin Macken: I’m doing great. Thanks for asking! Hope you’re doing well also.
DA: Besides an actor, you’re also a model, a director and a writer. Tell us, where did all that creativity come from?
EM: Probably a childhood lost to reading Tolkien in the dark with a flashlight when I was supposed to be sleeping. I have always loved getting lost in the immersive world of storytelling and being lucky enough to be able to create some is something I’m so grateful for and it’s all I want to do.
DA: What was your first memory of being on set and what was it for?
EM: Oh, man! I think it was actually for a milk advert campaign, and they were shooting my calves as I rode a bicycle and I had very little idea of what was going on.
DA: Would you say that your experience as a model has given you the advantage to be comfortable in front of the camera for acting?
EM: I don’t necessarily think that it has been an advantage but it’s all part of the same tapestry of working with creatives who see things a certain way. You’re part of creating an image which I think lends itself experience-wise to a different angle of understanding composition so it probably helped me more from a cinematographer’s point of view and learning about light and imagery.
DA: What would you say it takes for an actor to make it in today’s entertainment world?
EM: Persistence and dogged determination, which I think is the same for any career or any aspect of film, be it above or below the line. You have to learn your craft, work hard, meet people and forge relationships and be prepared for all the ups and downs that are inevitable.
DA: How about the one that really put you on the map? Which film or TV show was it that convinced you that you were definitely meant to be an actor?
EM: I think I’m still waiting for that part so when it arrives, I’ll let you know! But I think “Studs,” the first big film I was cast in during my final year in college when I was acting with Domhnall Gleeson on his first film, and his dad Brendan Gleeson, and some wonderful Irish theatre actors in David Wilmot, and Liam Carney. I was so thankful that Paul Mercer gave me that opportunity because I learnt so much and that film made me believe it was something I could pursue.
DA: Your satirical comedy “Grey Elephant” is now airing on Amazon Prime. Was this filmed during the lockdown too? What was the most memorable moment from filming/ directing the film?
EM: All of it. It was a joy to be able to make something during that first big COVID lockdown when everything was so strict and we all had no idea what was happening, but I got to work with some of my dear friends from “The Night Shift” and that made it all worthwhile. Acting opposite Jill Flint and Mac Brandt again made me so happy because I love sharing the screen with them and they’re all so talented.
“You have to learn your craft, work hard, meet people and forge relationships and be prepared for all the ups and downs that are inevitable.”
DA: Ultimately, what do you hope audiences take with them after watching the movie?
EM: Whatever they feel. It’s a drama that hopefully captures that moment in time, which I don’t know I would even write in the same way now, but it’s what we all experienced and how it affected our relationships and that was fascinating to me to explore.
DA: Which do you enjoy more, being in front or behind the camera and why?
EM: Cannot compare the two. I love both and they’re symbiotic for me because I learn something new every time.
DA: The first half of “La Brea” season 2 has aired. What can fans of the show expect from this season?
EM: More acting and adventure, and some twists and answers to some of the big questions that they are NOT expecting.
DA: They say that with every role, you learn something as an actor and maybe something about yourself. What was it that you took with you from your experience on “La Brea”?
EM: This is definitely true. I think I had a great time developing the relationship with Zyra and Jack who are both now friends, but I don’t have kids so I got to navigate some of the emotions from that.
DA: What was the biggest challenge of playing your character, Gavin Harris for the second season of “La Brea”?
EM: It was pretty emotionally heavy for Gavin this year, so it wasn’t easy. He has had a rough time and through it, he has had to try to keep it together for the sake of his family, so the emotional arc he goes through that continues during the rest of the season was tough.
DA: In your opinion, what would be the number one reason to get into the show for anyone who missed the initial broadcast?
EM: Because it has all the elements of those great ‘90s escapist movies and stories that take you to another place entirely and if you just let the story take you along for the ride, you’re in for a treat.
DA: When we see you play these unique characters on-screen with their quirks and all, how much of it comes from the writers of the film and how much of it is your own interpretation of the role?
EM: Both. It’s very much a collaboration with the writer and director and actor every time to understand what the character should be and, more importantly, how he fits in with the story because, at the end of all of it, it’s about creating that tapestry.
DA: Looking to the past, what is your all-time favorite role?
EM: I cannot ever not say ‘Gwaine’ in “Merlin” for BBC because I had a blast playing that character and made some friends for life on that show, and it was such a joy to be a part of.
DA: Last question, how important is having an active social media presence for an actor like yourself? Especially today when everything is online.
EM: Not sure to be honest. I do it for fun and I guess because it’s a place to be able to showcase things, but I also use it for communicating with my friends and family, so I don’t overthink it too much.
PHOTOGRAPHY Mitchell Ngunyen McCormack
STYLING Kimberly Goodnight
GROOMING Maxwell Martin using UNITE Hair Care
PRODUCTION Media Playground PR
CASTING Industry Lifestyle Consulting
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