A birth, a death and a bare-knuckle boxer have helped make PADDY CONSIDINE one of Britain’s finest young actors. Words: Miles Fielder
'm sorry. I‘m just going to see . . . ? Can [just take
it? Just for a second . . .‘ 1 switch my dictaphone
off: Paddy C onsidinc answers his mobile. He‘s left it on throughout the interview because his wife is due to give birth any day now and he‘s eagerly. anxiously awaiting The Call. It's August and Considine‘s in Edinburgh to promote his latest film. In America. which is receiving its gala premiere at the Film Festival. It‘s a big deal for Considine (the film. as well as the baby). because it's his most prestigious role to date — Considine refers to In America not as a film. but a ‘movie'.
A few moments later he rings off without any news and says: ‘Sony. what were you saying about . . . I"
I was asking the young Nottinghamshire-born actor how he got started in the business. With his mate. Shane Meadows. is how. They met on a drama course. which Considine quit to become a photographer. Meadows went on to distinguish himself as a great new talent. writing and directing a series of marvellous low budget comic dramas: Small 'Iime. 7It'(’III_\']‘I)IlI' Seven. A Room for Romeo Brass. Between times Meadows and Considine would muck about in their home town. improvising no budget short films on video. Then Meadows cast his mate as the charismatic. but ultimately psychotic Morell in Romeo Brass and. hey presto. a remarkable new actor was unleashed on cinema-goers.
Considine was showered with praise for his second role. the lead in Last Resort. a romantic drama about asylum seekers. Smaller. but nonetheless impressive performances in bigger films — Born Romantic. 2-1 Hour Party People — followed. each confirming the actor‘s growing talent. Iiarlier this year he helped satirist Chris Morris win a BAI’I‘A for My Wrongs 8245—8249 and 1/7. Now. the Hollywood-backed In America. directed by the Irishman Jim Sheridan. finally establishes (‘onsidine as a leading man to be reckoned with.
So. I ask Considine. who‘s still clocking his mobile in our interview suite in the Scotsman Hotel. how did he get from drama school drop-out to In America in just four years and with no professional training? Without the slightest hint of annoyance. Considine. who is a deeply down to earth bloke. Iiast Midlands accent and all. replies: ‘I always say to people. listen lad. I've stood at fucking [pronounced ‘fooking‘l bus stops. I‘ve sat in pubs and cafés. I‘ve gone around and lived. I’ve studied all my life. When I lived with my family I was studying for this. My ideas and inspirations come from the people around me. y‘know?‘
A case in point: when (‘onsidine was a photographer he met an old bare-knuckle boxer. a real character. as you might imagine. Ile put some of the old pugilist in Romeo Brass' Morrel.
1"” NOT get on with life. BE ALL AND END ALL OF
UNIVERSE. WE'RE A FAMILY NOW.’
In America is a semi-autobiographical film. (‘o- written by Sheridan and his two daughters. Naomi and Kirsten. it‘s about a family of four who abandon Ireland for New York City. leaving their beloved baby boy. Christ); behind in a grave. The Sheridan family made a
similar Transatlantic move: J im's young brother died of
a brain tumour. I-lis film‘s dedicated to ‘lirankie'.
(‘onsidine says that because of the autobiographical element. people assume his character in the film. Johnny. is Jim Sheridan. But that‘s no more the case than Morrel being the bare-knuckle boxer (‘onsidine once photographed. ‘I never thought I‘d ever. ever play Jim Sheridan] (‘onsidine emphasises. 'II was always the guy. Johnny. in Jim‘s story. But I look at the film and I see bits of my dad.‘
(‘onsidine’s dad died recently: he was buried the Wednesday before the Monday filming started on In America. It’s an emotionally devastating film. At the centre of it is Johnny's loss of faith. self and his
unwillingness to let his dead son go and (‘onsidine‘s articulation of Johnny‘s desperate efforts to hold his tortured emotions in
is astonishingly powerful. He says his own loss fuelled his performance.
‘I didn’t understand what it was like to lose a child.‘ says Considine. ‘Not that much devastation. but I knew what it felt like to lose somebody. You question everything. ls worry worth anything'? ls joy worth anything? ls it worth enriching our lives with great experiences? It‘s quite a scary place to be. The weight was with me most of the time. and it helped me play Johnny. in a funny way. I‘ear of articulating his emotions. all that
kind of thing. lle‘s frightened of letting it out. that if
he lets it out he’s going to hurt himselfor somebody.’ In one scene in the film Johnny stalks his two young daughters around their run-down apartment in Manhattan's Hell‘s Kitchen. lle‘s blindfolded and bellowing: ‘li’ee. ti. fo. fum. I smell the blood of an lrishman.’ The girls are dodging beneath the blind
giant's groping arms. hiding in corners. giggling wildly. But there’s something wrong: the scene plays less like a bit of domestic fun and more like something out of a horror movie. What could have been a sentimental film about a mourning family‘s cathartic journey back to happiness is something altogether more edgy. vital. real. That‘s also a good way of describing (‘onsidine‘s performance.
(‘onsidine‘s got his own faith back. Making In America helped. having a child (a baby boy. it turned out) more so. ‘It’s priorities now.‘ he says. ‘l‘m not the be all and end all of this universe. We‘re a family now.’
(‘onsidine’s phone rings. 1 switch off the dictaphone.
In America is on general release from 7 Nov.
check and be a good husband and father
HAVING A PADDY
Four magic movie moments from the great untrained one, Paddy Considine
A Room for Romeo Brass Shane Meadows" finest film to date features ConSidine as the demented bullying child befriender. Morrell. Early on in his friendship With Romeo (Andrew Shim; and GaVin (Ben Marshalli, Morrell takes them on a day trip. The three end up by an old bandstand. where he does a weird dance for some OAPs. It is a moment as inspired and nutty as De Niro talking to the mirror in Two Driver.
24 Hour Party People Considine plays Factory Records' misanthrope. Rob Gretton. He turns up to deride Tony Wilson's situationist VISIONS. While getting stoned on the roof of Afflex Palace in Manchester with Tony, he decides to tell him: ‘The trooble with yoti. lony_ is that you are a total c”t.' Tony politely replies that he was well aware of that. Priceless.
The Last Resort l laying helped Tanya (Dina Korzunl and her son to escape the refugee coastal town prison of Stonehaven. low life entrepreneur Alfie lCOllSICIIIiCI stands alone on the road watching what was the best chance he would probably ever have of romantic happiness disappear in a car. ()h. the humanity. Pawel Pay-.rlikowski's film from 9000 is still the seminal essay on the asylum issue.
My Wrongs 8245-8249 and 117 Chris Morris' award -\'./in'iing short about a man who is A harassed by his girlfriend's talking; dog is a manic piece of inspiration. Considine is fantastic. ranging from depressed and suicidal to genuinely mad. A mini masterpiece.
a.” (is: 1»: No». RAUL; THE LIST 17