Tuesday 28 March 2017

Rite of passage as rising star Colin joins the big time

Colin O'Donoghue: celebrated his birthday at the after party
Colin O'Donoghue: celebrated his birthday at the after party
Actors Anthony Hopkins and Colin O'Donoghue at the premiere of their new film 'The Rite' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

WATCH out Colin Farrell. There's a new Irish acting talent in Hollywood called Colin.

Dundalk man Colin O'Donoghue celebrated his 30th birthday this week and where better to celebrate it than on the red carpet of your first Hollywood movie premiere?

"Overwhelming" is how the Louth man described Wednesday night's screening in LA.

"I'm trying my best to keep it under control, but my legs are shaking like crazy," O'Donoghue admitted.

In 'The Rite', the rising Irish star plays seminary student Michael Kovak who travels to the Vatican to study exorcism.

Initially sceptical, the trainee priest has his mind changed after a meeting with older priest Father Lucas, played by British acting legend Anthony Hopkins.

O'Donoghue had no feature film experience when he sent an audition tape to the film's director Michael Hafstrom.

"I did a self-taping in my best friend's back garden, but I didn't know if anyone would ever watch it. Thank God they did. It was a dream come true for me because I really felt a connection with the director Michael Hafstrom," said O'Donoghue.

Swedish director Hafstrom was so impressed with what he saw on the Irishman's audition tape, he flew him to Los Angeles to screen-test with co-star Anthony Hopkins.

"This is Colin's first movie, and he is in virtually every scene, much of the time opposite the great Anthony Hopkins, so he was understandably nervous that first day but Anthony was -- as a person and as an actor -- generous to Colin and helped him in many ways.

"They became good friends, which was essential because, in a certain aspect, this is a buddy movie between the younger priest and the older priest. There's also a father and son dynamic that plays out between them," said Hafstrom.

Anthony Hopkins has described O'Donoghue as "extraordinary" .

Wonderful

"It was wonderful to work with him. He's an exceptional actor, not to mention a very nice person," said Hopkins,

However, O'Donoghue, who graduated from the Gaiety School Of Acting in 2001, had to witness some real life exorcisms in preparation for his role.

"What I thought was especially remarkable about it was that to the exorcists, it was all very matter-of-fact. It's what they face all the time. But to us it was an extraordinary thing," said O'Donoghue, whose previous acting roles had been confined to roles in TV's 'The Tudors,' 'Fair City' and 'The Clinic'.

'The Rite' is to open in Irish cinemas later this year.

Irish Independent

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