A Day in the Life: Ian O’Reilly


KEEPING BUSY Ian O’Reilly, best known for his role in ‘Moone Boy’, is delighted to have continued acting during the pandemic.


Name: Ian O’Reilly
Age: 21
Born: Moorehall
Lives: Dublin
Occupation: Actor

If I have a film or show being released, I’d wake up, check to see if I’ve any interviews to do that day, or if I have to post online about something that I’m in. I’ll usually get up and get myself going, have a cup of coffee and then get stuck into rehearsals straight away.
At the moment I’m doing a monologue series, which is new for me. It’s strange enough rehearsing a monologue, but it’s even stranger doing it on Zoom in your bedroom. By the time rehearsals come to an end, you’re kind of wrecked, but you’re still have to go over the materials of what you’re going to be covering tomorrow, and go over what you’ve done for the day. Then I just relax for the evening.
Recently, a film I was in called ‘Stacey Amber’ came out over the summer in the UK and Ireland and it was just released in North America and Canada. At the moment I’m working on ‘14 Voices From The Bloody Field’ which is about the commemoration of Bloody Sunday in 1920.
There’s very little else going on at the moment. To be acting at the moment is something I’m very grateful for because it’s not very common. I took part in the second instalment of ‘Dear Ireland’ in the Abbey Theatre over the summer. It’s an initiative to get people to write in letters about how their life has changed during lockdown and the emotions they’ve felt. I read out the letter of a Leaving Cert student who had a very different type of Leaving Cert.
As an actor a huge amount of what you do is interacting with other people. That has been massively interrupted by the pandemic. Especially now that we’re back in lockdown  and you can’t be in the same room as people. I haven’t rehearsed in person since this time last year, so I’ve been rehearsing over Zoom. It’s definitely strange and new, but I think people have adapted to it fairly well.
In terms of the acting process, it’s a lot less interpersonal and a lot more separated. You’re rehearsing from home and you’re only going in when you’re really needed. It’s the same on film sets; there’s constant testing, you only come in when you’re needed. You’re in, you’re out and then you’re gone. It’s obviously necessary but just strange.
Even the phrases we use in a rehearsal room just don’t really apply. You’re sitting there on the couch and the director is like ‘Once you’re on the floor we can work it out a bit more’ – the floor is my bedroom! Things like that are strange, but it’s grand. Rehearsing and performing to your phone is really weird but like everything else you get used to it.
The last show I was in wrapped up a month before Covid really arrived here. I haven’t had anything cancelled but there’s a lack of auditions at the moment.
I know a lot of actors who have done jobs and still haven’t been paid because the company can’t afford to, or they’ve done jobs that they were about to start or were midway through, and they got cancelled. A lot of the others have been lucky where they were casting something before lockdown and they were able to film it around July and August when things were kind of settling down. It’s been a mixed bunch but I’m lucky enough that I haven’t had any work cancelled outright.
There’s a lot less happening at the moment. Unless it’s being done by a major company like Netflix or Amazon, companies don’t want to take the chance with their money given the uncertainty. I’ve been involved with films by independent companies in the past that took six or seven years to get going, and I only came in at the tail end when it was cast. It takes so long to build up the money to get it going, so the budget is so incredibly tight that if it gets cancelled midway through filming it would destroy them.
Casting has also changed a lot. I thought when I moved up to Dublin that is was mighty that I wouldn’t have to travel four hours on the bus for a ten-minute audition anymore, but since I got up here every audition has been through Zoom, which has been really strange. There’s been no coming into the room and meeting the director. Those sorts of things might carry into the future. Hopefully if things open a bit more in 2021 there will be more happening.
In my spare time I read a lot. Recently I’ve been reading ‘Exciting Times’ by Anita Dolan. I go for a lot of walks. I think I’ve walked the path off the Grand Canal here beside me! When the gym was open I was going to the gym to exercise and keep my head in check. Sometimes I water colour if I’m in the mood, but that’s not too often!

In conversation with Oisín McGovern

Quickfire questions

If money was no object, what would you do all day?
Watch ‘Kath and Kim’ on repeat

Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?
I never had a Chinese takeaway until I was 19

Where’s your favourite place in the world?
Beside the fire in my Nanny’s house in Moorehall
Your first hero?
Any of the Power Rangers

What makes you nervous?

Name three things that are always in your fridge?
Hummus, relish and chilled water

What makes you angry?
The homeless crisis and Direct Provision being unaddressed

Favourite TV show?
Has to be ‘Kath and Kim’

Most famous person you’ve met?
Paul Rudd

How do you unwind?
Reading or creating

What’s your most prized possession?
My claddagh ring my Mam got me for my 21st

Best advice you ever got?
Make enough of an impact to be in a ‘Reeling In the Years’ episode

Describe yourself in three words?
Opinionated, motivated, fun

What do you miss most about being a kid?
Not paying rent