Your new movie The
Perished - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell
us about your character in it?
Perished stars my character Sarah Dekker as she deals with an unplanned
pregnacy. The movie follows her journey and explores the aftermath of her
decision to get an abortion. Sarah ends up getting kicked out of her home
and needs a place to escape. This is where her best pal Davet comes in
with a plan. The pair go to his holiday home to take some time to recover.
However, they soon realise that things are not as they seem in the house.
What did you draw upon to
bring your character to life, and how much Courtney McKeon can we find in
and I share the role of being young women in Irish society. We share the
experience of hereditary Catholic guilt and the effect that has on sexual
health and a women's right to choose. I am very lucky not to share Sarah's
religious zealous parents. My family life is a stark contrast to what
Sarah grew up with. My parents are both liberal, kind people who would
never prioritise religion over my health. I also feel Sarah has much
deeper loneliness than I have. I grew up with siblings, cousins and
friends always around me, whereas Sarah is an only child and I feel Davet
and Shane were two of the only people who were close to her.
To what extent could you personally identify with
The Perished's Sarah,
and the emotional turmoil she's going through?
grown up in the Ireland that this film projects, I can identify with the
deep shame and fear Sarah feels surrounding her decision. I grew up
Catholic (Catholic all-girls schools until I was 18 and prayer group as a
child), and while I was lucky to have a very positive experience with the
church and religious figures, I can understand that almost baseless guilt
that comes with sexuality and the subsequent choices Sarah had to make in
this film. I also understand her turmoil with telling her boyfriend Shane
- as someone who is in a long-term relationship I would feel shattered if
my partner left me in the position to make that choice alone - and I can
identify with her struggle and eventual assuredness when Shane finally
you get involved with the project in the first place?
was lucky to have been involved in The
Perished from early drafts as more
of a script supervisor. Writer/director Paddy Murphy [Paddy
Murphy interview - click here] wanted my insights into the story from a
young female perspective. As the drafts got more polished and became what
Perished, I expressed interest in maybe playing Sarah. Paddy
actually admitted that Kathy (his wife) had assumed I was already playing
Sarah from the way he had written the character and he said he couldn't
imagine anyone else. So from then I was to be Sarah!
can you tell us about The
Perished's director Paddy Murphy, and what was your collaboration
is an exceptional talent, although he will sometimes tell you otherwise.
He is, at his core, a people person and can have a room laughing in
minutes. Our collaboration for The
definitely special. Paddy and I are friends outside of filming but I think
we both know when to put our game faces on. As we had both such a vested
interest in Sarah, I think we both trusted each other with each note. If
Paddy wanted something done another way, there would be a conversation
about why so that I could bring what he wanted to the scene. Paddy is
never afraid to call himself out. If he gives a note and you try it and it
doesnít work, he will own it and say "My bad! Go again!Ē, which
is so refreshing as an actor! I think we make a great team and our history
has shown we only get better with every project!
Perished isn't your first collaboration with Paddy Murphy - so
what can you tell us about your previous films together, and how did you
two first meet even?
and I have been working together since maybe 2014/15. I first met Paddy at
a play I was in called Teenage Memories. He then later messaged me on
and asked me to be an extra in his short Ground Floor which stars the
amazing Tristan Risk [Tristan Risk
interview - click here]. A few months later he asked me to come on board for
a new short called I Love/Need You. This short was my first time playing a
major role on camera and I was super nervous, I still canít watch the
footage without cringing at some of my choices! After that we worked on
The Three Don'ts, Framed and The World As I See It. I also have worked
with Paddy behind the camera as well casting The Mersey Boys and Saviour
with Celtic Badger Media. After working behind the scenes, I realised how
much I just wanted to be in front of the camera, and it was after we shot
Saviour that I actually mustered the courage to ask to play Sarah in the
Do talk about the shoot as such,
and the on-set atmosphere?
Celtic Badger Media sets can only be described as familial craic (fun)! There is
a genuinely addictive quality to being on set on a Celtic Badger
Media production. We all get on so well and can push the lines of jokes as far
as the eye can see, but we also know when to be professional and get work
done. Most importantly we support each other. The
Perished was a difficult
film to do for me as I was pretty burnt out. I was working 40-hour weeks
in a call centre as well as filming AND doing a two-woman play which I was
rehearsing an additional 10 hours a week! Getting to set was always such a
cathartic experience, I could laugh in between takes and cry when I needed
to cry and then get back into it for "action". Producer Vachn
Gill would always have a cuppa ready and the stove would be on in the big
kitchen of the house to chill.
Any future projects you'd
like to share?
play a small role in Celtic Badger
Media's latest film In Memoriam.
However, currently I am focusing on my day job. I do hope to get back into
acting as soon as possible. I am available for contact via email at
email@example.com for any queries!
What got you into acting in the first
place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
have been into performance since I was very young. I trained with the
Irish Board of Speech and Drama from the age of 7 until I was 17 and have
an Associate Diploma in Teaching with them. I also attended the Limerick
School of Acting and the Limerick Youth Theatre groups in my teens.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The
of my filmography comes from my work with Paddy and
Celtic Badger Media.
However, I also have worked as a featured extra and body double on
Three Don'ts would be my biggest role before The
Perished, in which I
played Katherine the badass female assassin!
How would you describe yourself as an
actress, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
technique varies, I find sometimes the Laurence Olivier quote comes to
mind "Why don't you just try acting" when I am preparing for a
role. I think that everyone has what works for them and I love to hear how
other people get into the zone, for me there is an element of just switch
it on and go! If a scene is going to be particularly heavy, however, I
will take some extra time to prepare my body. Sometimes if I need to cry,
I will listen to a sad song. I love theatre also and find the transition
from stage to screen can be tough so sometimes I will perform in front of
the mirror to minimise the actions I would exaggerate on stage.
(and indeed actors) who inspire you?
Ronan definitely comes to mind for me, mostly because I have spent so long
being compared to her. Not in terms of talent or even looks but more like
"Oh you're a young female irish actress? Like that Saoirse Ronan
also love Dakota and Elle Fanning. Jane Fonda and Lilly Tomlin also.
am not the biggest movie buff, much to the chagrin of basically everyone I
meet! I am usually that idiot in the back of the room saying "I
donít think Iíve seen that?" when someone speaks about a
well-known classic or quotes a scene at me! However my top 3 are:
3. Cat in the Hat
... and of course, films you really deplore?
despise La La Land and everything it stood for. I am a true believer in a
happy ending, I appreciate the nuance of realism and the portrayal of life
beyond fantasy. However, I watch films to escape reality and I do not want
to watch people fall out of love!
website, social media, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
canít think of anything just now :)
for the interview!