Tuesday 24 April 2018

'If there's a character that's like Fran they're going to come and ask you' - Love/Hate star Peter Coonan on being stereotyped

Peter Coonan
Peter Coonan

Lynne Kelleher

Peter Coonan said he found it difficult to shake off the iconic role of gangster Fran Cooney in Love/Hate.

The actor (33), who shot to fame thanks to his powerful portrayal of TV's ultimate villain, admits it would be a dream to play the Dublin gangster again, despite working hard to shed his most famous character.

The dad-of-two turned down film roles similar to the violent inner city character to avoid being stereotyped after the RTE series ended.

"It can be difficult, in film especially, when people are getting money to make a film and if there's a character that's like Fran and they're going to come and ask you," he told the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk.

Windmill Lane Pictures produced Love/Hate
Windmill Lane Pictures produced Love/Hate

"Sometimes you have to go, 'I'd prefer to do a short film where it's a more moving piece and I get to show different parts of me as an actor'.

"That can be difficult, but it can be exciting to do that. Love/Hate has given me such a great platform to do theatre and everything else."

Coonan will not say categorically whether TV has seen the last of Fran Cooney.

"I can never say never, but I think, as a series, for now it has definitely come to a halt," he said.

Seán Purcell (Peter Coonan) taking a selfie of himself, Owen McDonnell (Ernest Timmons) and Tom Morgan (Seán T Ó Meallaigh) outside the GPO in ‘Wrecking The Rising’.
Seán Purcell (Peter Coonan) taking a selfie of himself, Owen McDonnell (Ernest Timmons) and Tom Morgan (Seán T Ó Meallaigh) outside the GPO in ‘Wrecking The Rising’.

"It would be a dream to get back and do it again, but I think you kind of have to push on from it and start trying to do as many different roles as possible.

"The thing is now to prove to people you can delve into different characters."

His latest all-singing, all-dancing role could not be more different from his Love/Hate persona as he appears in a new play called Woyzeck In Winter, which features songs by Schubert.

Coonan plays a drum major who is having an affair with the mistress of the play's central character, a downtrodden soldier called Woyzeck.

Class act: Peter Coonan backstage at the Gate Theatre
Class act: Peter Coonan backstage at the Gate Theatre

He will be singing in the play, which has its world premiere next Monday at the Blackbox Theatre in Galway.

"It's beautiful," he said. "You don't every day get to go into rehearsal and hear Schubert being played by a concert pianist.

"I sang on Borstal Boy in 2014 and I did a bit of singing as a kid but not the level of Schubert.

"To do something new and put yourself into challenging surroundings is what it's all about.

"When Love/Hate finished, I was lucky enough to have somewhat of a name so it gave me a platform to get back into theatre.

"It's something that's electrifying and so exciting to get back to."

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