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Star of ‘Kin’ denies basing his character on Conor McGregor

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Sam Keeley is hoping 'Kin' will be picked up for a second season. Photo: Anthony Devlin

Sam Keeley is hoping 'Kin' will be picked up for a second season. Photo: Anthony Devlin

Sam Keeley is hoping 'Kin' will be picked up for a second season. Photo: Anthony Devlin

Actor Sam Keeley has said he would love to do a second series of RTÉ’s hit crime drama Kin.

The Offaly man plays Eric ‘Viking’ Kinsella in the crime series, and in the opening episode saw his character survive a drive-by shooting that killed a young cousin.

The final episode of the first season is to be broadcast on television tonight — but Keeley is already looking beyond the season finale.

“I’d love to do a second series. It’s written so well. Peter McKenna did such an amazing job and we’ve got an amazing cast,” he said.

I love this show and I’m fiercely proud of it. I think there’s so much room here to develop these characters and this world, and take them to a place that would even go beyond what we’ve done in the first season. Hopefully we’ll know soon, once the finale airs.”

Keeley said he had to ignore all patterns of normal behaviour and allow the aggression to come through in order to portray his character. He has been delighted with how the show has been received.

“A lot of it is peeling back all social cues, and the way you conduct and navigate yourself, especially in this world that these guys operate in,” he said.

“It’s a very volatile place and that’s there in the name ‘Viking’. I like to think whether it was given to him, or he gave it to himself, he definitely explores the stereotypical connotations of a name like that in terms of aggression and forward-moving energy.

“So for me it was all about being abrasive at every turn, and just allowing yourself to be like a child basically.

“I was stopped in a bar the other night and some guy was looking at me and he goes: ‘I know you from somewhere.’ Then he said: ‘Did I do time with you?’

"Everyone laughed, because they thought he was referring to the show. But it turns out he actually meant it, and then he figured out he knew me from the show, so people get the lines blurred, but it’s good craic,” he said.

Keeley said many people compared his character to MMA star Conor McGregor, and he admitted there were probably “unavoidable parallels” between the two.

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“I guess the look I had at the time is very similar to some of the looks that Conor has rocked at certain times,” Keeley said.

“Of course I’m playing a character from Dublin and obviously Conor’s from Dublin and Viking’s a martial artist — so I guess those parallels are unavoidable.

“But in terms of whether or not I modelled the character on him, no. Conor has obviously made a huge impact on the martial arts community and I think he definitely has influenced some facets of characters who get involved in stuff like that.

"I’d imagine there’s an energy there that you could see between the two. But, no, I didn’t specifically go out and model Viking on him, I think there’s just parallels there,” he said. 

Kin director Diarmuid Goggins said there is room for the characters to grow in a potential second season.

He added that he hoped tonight’s final episode went down well.

“I think, like with everything, some people will love it and some people won’t be so mad about it. But I think it’s truthful,” he said.

“I feel in some ways there is a conclusion there. But at the same time there’s so much room to grow and scope for the characters to take further afield — if we’re lucky enough to get a second season.”

The season finale of ‘Kin’ is on RTÉ One today at 9.30pm 


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