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Title : John Connors at Galway Film Fleadh 2016
Description : Actor John Connors talks about his new film Cardboard Gangsters.
Last month a teaser trailer for a new Irish film went viral. Clocking in at one minute in duration, the short clip featured just one character – a heavy set, twenty-something male, clearly agitated, breathing heavily and pacing nervously in a small, untidy bedroom. Reaching for a pack of cigarettes and lighting one up, he inhales and exhales repeatedly. With every emission of smoke the character looks increasingly more agitated. Then, the scene takes a more disturbing turn and all hell breaks loose.
Meet John Connolly, a part-time DJ and low-level drug dealer played by John Connors (Love/Hate. King of the Travellers). The short trailer was released to promote Cardboard Gangsters, a new Irish film set around the world of low-level criminals in Darndale in Dublin's northside – an area victimised by gangs, drugs and social problems.
John Connors' performance during those 60 seconds brings to mind of one of the early scenes in Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola's surreal, drug-fueled, psychedelic horror about the Vietnam war. Holed up in a Saigon hotel room, Captain Willard (played by Martin Sheen), collapses in an emotional heap. The actor, having downed a bottle of whiskey, and God knows what else to get 'into character', experiences an emotional breakdown on camera. Shooting on a closed set, the director (Coppola) continues to film the scene, encouraging his lead actor to embrace his inner demons. Sheen, rising to the challenge, staggers to his feet, karate chops a full length mirror, badly cutting up his hands in the process.
There are similarities between Connors' character and Willard. Both are thrust into a grave situation out of necessity and survival. Both confronting their own demons while fighting the external ones too. John Connors' Darndale bedroom disintegration is Martin Sheen's Saigon meltdown and Cardboard Gangsters his personal journey into the Heart of Darkness.
"I co-wrote the film and played the lead. It's been so long in the making, we had to go through World War 1, 2 and 3 just to get the budget up", says John Connors. "It was tough and gruel shoot but, by the end, it was like a cathartic release for me".
Cardboard Gangsters is due for national release on 30th September, 2016.
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