Tuesday 6 December 2016

Irish actress Charlene McKenna lifts the lid on 'lunacy' of life in Hollywood

Published 20/01/2016 | 15:49

Vodafone TV launch with TV star Charlene McKenna . Photo: Naoise Culhane
Vodafone TV launch with TV star Charlene McKenna . Photo: Naoise Culhane

Top actress Charlene McKenna (31) has lifted the lid on the “lunacy” of pilot season in LA.

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While some Irish actresses are determined to make it big in Hollywood, the Ripper Street actress has said she would be “very nervous” to return to the bustling city and sell herself to casting agents and directors.

Pictured at The Premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar at The Bord Gais Energy Theatre last night was; Charlene McKenna
Pictured at The Premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar at The Bord Gais Energy Theatre last night was; Charlene McKenna

“I’ve been living in New York and I’m due to go to LA after Ripper Street finishes filming,” she told Independent.ie.

“They want me to go to LA on the back of the Ron Howard job, Clan of The Cave Bear, but I don’t know. I’m very nervous to go back.

"I think the first time I went, I didn’t enjoy pilot season.

"There’s nothing wrong with Los Angeles. It’s grand. But I didn’t enjoy 900 meetings a day.

Charlene McKenna pictured at the opening of the musical Dirty Dancing
Charlene McKenna pictured at the opening of the musical Dirty Dancing

"I’m a perfectionist and there was no time and I felt really frazzled, so that’s why I’m reticent about going back. I should go though and I will.”

The Monaghan native, who divides her time between London and New York, added how it was “intimidating” for any actor to be scrutinized so intensely.

"Pilot season is lunacy and I’ve yet to meet any actor who says it’s great or that they love working 900 hours a day. You need a thick skin. You’re just judged,” she continued.

"Obviously I’ve a bigger career in Ireland and the UK, so when you walk into the room there’s a bit of weight, whereas over there, they don’t really know you and you’re torn. It’s interesting.”

Vodafone TV launch with TV star Charlene McKenna and YouTube sensation Piggy Sue. Photo: Naoise Culhane
Vodafone TV launch with TV star Charlene McKenna and YouTube sensation Piggy Sue. Photo: Naoise Culhane

She added how her American agents are keen for her to attempt to crack America again but that she has to finish Ripper Street first and may fly over afterwards.

Busy Charlene, who’s currently house-hunting in east London, was back in Dublin this week for the launch of Vodafone TV, a new on-demand TV service.

The IFTA-winning actress, who played a prostitute in Ripper Street, added how she still finds the industry “deeply unsettling” despite all her years of experience.

"I was thinking about that just the other day,” she said. “I’ve been doing this, solidly professionally just over ten years. And I’ve never done anything else and sometimes it’s like I’ve just started in that because you sort of are nicely going up the ladder a wee bit and it all becomes relevant so it’s about becoming that job and that job.

Charlene McKenna arrives the Irish Premiere of The Great Gatsby at The Savoy, Dublin.
Charlene McKenna arrives the Irish Premiere of The Great Gatsby at The Savoy, Dublin.

"And so, it’s not that you really think you’ll never work again, I think that that (feeling) ‘what if it stops?’ doesn’t go away, mixed with ‘well it shouldn’t’."

"And then like, that going into a mortgage you go, ‘what if that was it then? What do you do?’ So I’m always thinking about what if what if what it but touch all the wood, you just keep going.”

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