Sunday 11 December 2016

'I don't think it ever leaves you, it sticks with you' - Rex Ryan opens up about losing his father Gerry

Published 14/05/2015 | 10:23

Actors Laurence Falconer, Ranelagh, Rex Ryan, Clontarf and Brendan O'Donoghue, Monaghan at the opening night of Boyz of Harcourt Street at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin Arthur Carron
Actors Laurence Falconer, Ranelagh, Rex Ryan, Clontarf and Brendan O'Donoghue, Monaghan at the opening night of Boyz of Harcourt Street at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin Arthur Carron
Rex Ryan (left) in Boyz of Harcourt Street
Rex Ryan (centre) in Boyz of Harcourt Street
Edg role: Rex Ryan as Julio

Rex Ryan has opened up about losing his father, RTE broadcaster Gerry Ryan, five years ago.

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Rex (25), an actor, is gearing up to take his one-man show Pilgrim, written by Philip Doherty, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and spoke to John Murray on RTE Radio 1 about his career and late father.

Asked if Gerry would have approved of his decision to pursue an acting career, Rex said, "Dad said he named me Rex Ryan because he thought it would look nice on a poster.

"That's what I was dealing with from when I was like 3.  He was always really supportive, same with my mum.  He was a big influence and gave me confidence."

Asked if time is a good healer in terms of losing his dad, Rex said it is and asked John if his parents were alive. John replied that his father died six years ago.

"It's rough.  He's still in my mind every day," said John, to which Rex replied, "Yeah, same.  I don't think it every leaves you, it sticks with you.  If you had a good relationship I think it's easy to just be happy for what happened and what you had together.

"So there's not too much wallowing and sorrow.  It's better to remember the good times and keep that in your mind."

Rex plays 27 different characters in Pilgrim, something he says is a "challenge" but also a lot of "fun". 

He has also just finished filming his first feature film, Monged, written by Barry Duggan and also starring Love/Hate actor John Conners.

He was on set when his family convened to remember Gerry on his fifth anniversary last month.

"I was sitting around drinking coffee, that's what I was up to," laughed Rex, "But I was thinking about him on that day. 

"My family all sat around watching old videos and chilling out which was cool for them.  Old videos of Disney and holidays and things like that."

The young actor also revealed that he joined a youth theatre when he was 10 for four years before leaving because "it's not very cool as a young fella, a teenager, to be doing drama and dancing around on stage".

He added, "I left it in favour of chasing women and going to Wes and drinking for a few years. I did a business course primarily to travel and chase women and then I went to drama school.  I  went to the Gaiety School of Acting and studied there for 2 years."

Pilgrim, which follows the fortunes of a young man whose plane is diverted to Newfoundland on 9/11, is showing at the Pleasance theatre in Edinburgh from August 5 but will also show in Dublin at the Clontarf Theatre at the end of July.

Of what his dad would say to him now, Rex joked, "He would probably say to me get anew pair of trousers, there's a rip in the back of them Rex."

"He would say go for it go for it son, that would be it.  He'd like Pilgrim."

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