'Sacha Baron Cohen would sit behind the camera and snigger art what we were filming', interview with actor Rory Keenan

Cinema / Interview - 19 October 2020 08:30

Rory Keenan is in tv series The Duchess

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Rory Keenan has worked  in theatre and film. He performed leading roles on the London stage, he has also appeared in TV and film projects such as Peaky Blinders, War & Peace, Birdsong, The Guard. He worked in movie Grimsby (2006) and in tv series The Duchess (2020) in streaming on  Netflix.


In "Grimsby" you play James Thurbeck. How did you get to this character?


Thurbeck is one of the drone pilots who provides support for Mark Strong’s character, Sebastian. He’s serious about his job and very professional, so dealing with Nobby (Sacha B Cohen) is a bit of a challenge! 


Louis Leterrier is the director. How does he interact with the actors?

He was lovely to work with. Very easy to get along with, and open to hearing suggestions and ideas. 

What was the working relationship with the other actors, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong?

I didn’t get to see these guys on set together but Sacha was great to work with. He would sit behind the camera and snigger art what we were filming, and shout suggestions as the camera rolled. Sometimes the best thing to do is to ignore the script! 

He also worked in the TV series "War & Peace". What is the difference between working in a historical television series and a film?

War & Peace was great to work on because its such an iconic novel. Many of the locations we shot in were the actual locations Tolstoy wrote about in the book. The difference in shooting something like this and a different movie is that you have to honour the novel with the aesthetic and tone. But at the end of the day, you can only shoot the script in front of you. Sometimes it’s best to forget how popular the source material is. Not everyone’s expectation can be met! 

You worked in the theater, in "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me", with Michael Attenborough. How was the experience, given the delicate theme of the show?

It was interesting doing this play at this time, given there are have been very high profile hostage situations recently in the Middle East. It was a tough but rewarding experience. The characters go through many emotional challenges over the course of the play, so it was pretty exhausting reaching those places every night. But it was very satisfying to see how moved audiences were by it. Sometimes they felt they were taken hostage also, but of course they get released in the end!  

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