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Cillian turns the tables on time

IF you happen to go down to The Workman's Club this Sunday night, you're in for a big surprise. Sure, Jape and Little Green Cars will be electro-rocking out, while Des Bishop will be providing the wry chuckles, all in aid of a very good cause, Focus Ireland. But who's that behind the decks?

Those chiseled cheekbones, they look familiar. Those piercing blue eyes . . . Wait, surely it can't be . . ? Has someone been tampering with me drink here . . ?

"Well, it's any outlet for the frustrated musician," says the budding spinmaster in question, Cillian Murphy. One of the organisers of this Sunday's charity event, A Sort Of Sunday, Murphy held dreams of being a rock'n'roll star before the acting bug kicked in, and the likes of Disco Pigs, Breakfast On Pluto, The Wind That Shakes The Barley and The Dark Knight made him a highly acclaimed actor.

In 1996, Murphy and his younger brother Paidi's Zappa-esque band The Sons Of Mr Greengenes were offered a five-album deal by Acid Jazz Records, but their parents disapproved. And, besides, they would have lost the copyright on their compositions.



Decks

So, it's hardly surprising that Murphy is looking forward to his Sunday gig behind the decks.

"The fact that you can play music and people might dance to it, that's great," he smiles.

"This is something that myself and Des - we're old pals - we thought it would be good to do a night where people could just dance and also make it for a good cause. Focus Ireland are doing great work at the moment, so, hopefully people will come out on Sunday night and dance."

Founded in 1985 by Sister Stanislaus Kennedy and Rachel Collier, Focus Ireland is a non-profit organisation based in Dublin that provides services for the homeless whilst also working to influence the social and political environment in which Ireland operates, through local research projects, policy analysis and development.

"I think their work has always been incredibly important," continues Murphy, "but especially now, as people struggle to make ends meet. The effects of the recession run deep and being homeless is about as deep as it gets. We're very happy to do something to help Focus Ireland in their efforts."

The Workman's Club gig also gives Murphy an opportunity to use his fame for good. As opposed to selling coffee. Or beer. An intensely private individual, the Cork-born actor has always shunned the limelight. His wife, Yvonne McGuinness, and two kids, five-year-old Malachy and four-year-old Carrick, have yet to be part of a VIP photospread, and Murphy prefers to attend film premieres alone. It's hardly surprising then that the 35-year-old actor rarely says yes to Hollywood.

"If you want to have any longevity," he has said, "just take things that have artistic merit in them".

Murphy is as happy to work in theatre and TV as he is in film.



keeper

In his latest Hollywood adventure, In Time, he plays the Dekkard-esque Raymond Leon, a veteran timekeeper hot on the trail of Justin Timberlake's fugitive ghetto kid Will and the poor little rich girl (Amanda Seyfried) he has kidnapped.

A sequel-of-sorts to his 1997 offering Gattaca, writer/director Andrew Niccol has once again created a dystopian near-future, where the body clock stops at 25 years, and all subsequent time has to be bought. For Niccol, it's all about our obsession with living forever.

So, how did Murphy prepare to play a very old soul trapped inside a young man's body? Talk to vampires? Hang out with Cliff Richard?

"Well, it's a nice challenge. The character is actually 75. He started his career when he was 25, and he's been doing it for 50 years. So, that's a nice challenge to play, you know. And also, the character himself, he's a contradiction. He is enforcing a system that, I hope you can see, he fundamentally disagrees with. Yet, he has to do it to keep himself alive. So, they're all great character traits, or character notes, to try and play."

As I said, Murphy doesn't say yes to Hollywood very often. So, what grabbed him here?

"Well, Andrew and myself had talked about doing a film in the past and it didn't work out at that time. And I'm a big fan of Gattaca -- I think that's right up there in the science fiction genre -- and, also, he wrote The Truman Show.

"And I'd never played that figure of authority before, that badass type guy. So, that was a departure for me . . ."

A Sort Of Sunday is at The Workman's Club this Sunday at 8pm, €20. www.ticketmaster.ie In Time opens in cinemas on Friday


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