Saturday 19 October 2019

Meet the new faces poised to impress in new Irish crime drama Darklands

28/08/2019 (L to R) Members of Darklands Luke McQuillan (Killian) Charlotte Bradley Dane Whyte O Hara (Damian) Aisling Kearns (Nicola) Mark O Connor Thomas Kane Byrne (Butsy) during Virgin Media'snew season launch for 2019 at Virgin Meda Studios, Ballymount , Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
28/08/2019 (L to R) Members of Darklands Luke McQuillan (Killian) Charlotte Bradley Dane Whyte O Hara (Damian) Aisling Kearns (Nicola) Mark O Connor Thomas Kane Byrne (Butsy) during Virgin Media'snew season launch for 2019 at Virgin Meda Studios, Ballymount , Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
A scene from Darklands

Eugene Masterson

HE plays the new 'Nidge' type character in a new version of Love/Hate, but in real life the actor who plays him is far from the butch gangster he portrays.

In fact, Thommas Kane-Byrne - who plays Butsy in Virgin Media's eagerly awaited new crime series Darklands - is camp and proud of it.

"I don't mind being camp at all," smiles the 25-year-old.

The north inner city lad also has pride in his working class community.

Thomas Kane-Byrne and Aisling Kearns at the Virgin Media Television Autumn launch at the VMTV Studios in Ballymount,Dublin.
Pic Brian McEvoy Photography
Thomas Kane-Byrne and Aisling Kearns at the Virgin Media Television Autumn launch at the VMTV Studios in Ballymount,Dublin. Pic Brian McEvoy Photography

Thommas stresses that his part of north inner city Dublin is very different to that which is portrayed.

"A lot of it is visualised in the media, what is being said in the papers, is quite sensationalised," he points out.

Barry Keoghan and girlfriend Shona Guerin pictured at the Dublin Premiere of the film Dunkirk at the Lighthouse Cinema,Dublin.
Picture Brian McEvoy
Barry Keoghan and girlfriend Shona Guerin pictured at the Dublin Premiere of the film Dunkirk at the Lighthouse Cinema,Dublin. Picture Brian McEvoy

"As someone who is born and bred in that area, it's not what they're saying.

"I think if we stopped saying cartels, start saying families, stop saying monsters, start saying man, I think it would be a lot better, because we are just dehumanising people. We are making them easy to kill and easier to forget."

A scene from Darklands
A scene from Darklands

Thommas is a pal of Barry Keoghan, the actor from his neck of the woods who first came to fame as the 'cat killer' in Love/Hate and has won a load of recent major roles in Hollywood movies, including being cast in the upcoming Marvel flick. "I grew up with Barry," reveals Thommas. "Myself and Barry went to school together. He deserves every second of it. He is a wonderful human being and a wonderful actor."

Thommas plays gang boss Butsy in the series written by Mark O'Connor, which hits our screens next month. But he maintains it's very different to Love/Hate.

"I think it's its own beast, I think it's very human and it's all through the eyes of gangland crime, like a 17-year-old boy," he notes. "We are trying to lure him into that way of life."

The young lad he is talking about, Damian, is played by 16-year-old Dane Whyte O'Hara.

The teenager, from Rush, north Co Dublin, won his role after sending in a video of himself doing mixed martial arts.

"When I was a kid my parents wanted me to be able to defend myself, so I was in taekwondo, but I was too giddy for it, so I began training in kung fu," he tells us.

"For the last couple of years, I've started to get into the real rough arts, like boxing, kick boxing, jujitsu, all the hardier martial arts and it kind of took off from there."

He was amazed when he was plucked from nowhere for his first acting role.

The series is set in Bray, Co Wicklow, but Dane says he personally has never seen any gangland crime or much street violence.

"I think the way Mark has written it, it seems realistic for us, because I personally haven't seen it," he admits.

"The most I've seen is on telly or video. It's the way you picture it in your head and that's what I think is brilliant about it.

"I think it follows more complex storylines and the MMA aspect as well, which has never been done really in Irish TV, so I think it's adding a lot of new layers.

"I think people will be really interested in it."

Luke McQuillan, who's from Swords and lives in Rush, plays a character who's in a different family to that of Butsy and Damian's.

"Butsy and Eric are both close friends with my brother, who is heavily involved with the gang as well," he says.

Luke (29) has never seen much trouble. "You read about it in the papers and stuff, but I personally haven't had encounters with it," he explains. "But it is scary. I think people will enjoy the show."

As for comparisons to Love/Hate, he says: "Personally I think it's the next big thing - it's completely different to Love/Hate. There is more of a family story to it. There is a MMA aspect and a completely different genre altogether."

Luke, who plays Eric, is also an avid MMA enthusiast and specialises in jujitsu.

He is not a big fan of Conor McGregor, though.

"He probably shouldn't have hit that fellow," he stresses. "You can't be hitting old men. I think he probably has lost the run of himself. Like that could have been anyone's auld fella."

Luke is full of wonder about Thommas's acting skills.

"His transformation is scary," smiles Luke. "On our first day of shooting we were doing a scene and I didn't expect it."

via Sunday World

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