27 November 2021 The Irish Film & Television Network
IFTN Talks With John Connors
26 Apr 2018 : Nathan Griffin
IFTN caught up with John Connors to find out about his up and coming projects, what he is most excited about in 2018, and who he has been most impressed by in the Irish industry over the past 12 months.

Irish actor John Connors is best known for his role in the box-office hit ‘Cardboard Gangsters’, which he co-wrote with director Mark O’Connor. He also featured alongside Rooney Mara & Aidan Turner in Jim Sheridan’s romantic-drama ‘The Secret Scripture’, and RTÉ hit-dramas ‘Love/Hate’, ‘Charlie’, and ‘Rebellion’.

Connors shot to international attention earlier this year after his passionate acceptance speech at the 2018 IFTA Film & Drama awards went viral, being picked up by a number of international news stations and viewed online over 3.3 million times to date.

Having picked up the award for ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role Film’ for his performance in the independently funded ‘Cardboard Gangsters’, Connors took the opportunity to discuss the lack of support his film received from the Irish Film Board, the prejudice held against the Traveler community within the Irish film industry, and the opportunity that creativity provides to alleviate the burden of depression, which he openly spoke about suffering from in the past.

Following a hugely successful 2017, Connors is involved in a number of up and coming projects include ‘The Broken Law of Attraction’, Colin Broderick’s ‘A Bend In The River’, ‘Fingerprints’, ‘The Legend of Harry & Ambrose’, and ‘For the Good of the Child’.

What are the best and worst aspects of your work?

“The best thing about acting is the cathartic moments that take over your body; It's followed by complete peace, Nothing like it...”

“The worst part of acting is the industry and the culture that exists within it, of sucking up and bowing down to people. The film set monarchy also disgusts me, but not all sets are like that.”

What career do you think you would have if you weren’t in the film/TV industry, and why?

“I was a very successful amateur boxer winning over thirty titles ranging from county level to international with the Irish boxing team. I was asked to go pro, so I’d like to say boxing but I lost my dedication at about 18. Who knows if I could have got it back? If not I’d be maybe shovelling shite for a living.”

When did you last cry watching a film? (Or come close)

“The last time I cried was watching "The Wrestler" a few weeks back. I switch it on about once a month. The end scene where he realises the only people he could trust and who loved him were the fans. Then on he goes walking out to "Sweet Child O’ Mine", risking his life after being advised by his doctor to never wrestle again. Heart wrenching.”

What Irish Actor/Director would you most like to work with, and why? (Living or Dead)

“I've worked with many great Irish directors and actors already. I'm a huge film fan, so more than even wanting to work with these people I just really want to see what they have next and that goes for Aoife Mcardle, Frank Berry, Tristant Heanue and Terry Mcmahon.”

What are you most excited about for 2018?

“Personally, I’m excited about directing my short film that I wrote called "Bless you father for you have sinned", which like Cardboard Gangsters was rejected by the film board. Not stopping me though, I have an amazing cast and crew ready. I'm also working on a feature length script that I will direct called "The Keepers of the Flame". It's about Travellers. Many films have been made about Travellers and made by settled people, which were funded easily. Let’s hope I get support to make mine. It will be the bench mark film about Travellers. I really hope settled film-makers stop making films about us then. They are never really accurate and they miss so much.”

Who has really impressed you in the last 12 months in the Irish industry?

“Aoife Mcardle. Her film "Kissing Candice" was like no other Irish film I've ever seen. Also, Franky Berry, I loved "Michael inside". He's Irelands answer to Ken Loach. Also, really looking forward to Mark O'Connor's new TV series, I think it will be huge! There is no other film-maker like Mark in Ireland.”

Was there a particular scene or part you learnt by heart for auditions starting out?

“No. Nothing ever pre learned. Haven't done many auditions ever really, been lucky that most of the projects I’ve done have come from something else where a film maker saw me.”

Connors can currently be seen in TNT’s ‘The Alienist’ on Netflix.

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