From stand-up to acting to film-making – Mark Doherty chats about his latest movie ‘A Film With Me In It’.
When Movies.ie first sat down with Mark Doherty – writer and star of the adeptly titled Irish comedy ‘A Film With Me In It’ – we wanted to get one thing straight: how do we describe this deeply ridiculously yet surprising entertaining dark tale:
“Yeah, it’s a hard one to talk about without giving it away and so much of what I think works in the story is based around those surprise moments. It’s a difficult one because it hops around between so many different genres – there is an element of horror, thriller and just a bit of romantic comedy for good measure. So yeah”, he says laughing, “good luck with that!’
Good luck indeed – without giving too much away, Doherty and co. have managed to construct what is in many senses an old time comedy – with Mark casting himself in the lead as the struggling actor and underachiever Mark (try not to get the two confused), who hasn’t worked in living memory, is once again behind on the rent and whose relationship with his girlfriend appears to be on the way out.
Nevermind – Mark blissfully spends his days talking shite with his feckless best mate Dylan Moran (screen name Pierce but yes, its essentially Dylan Moran) – the shambolic neighbour who drinks too much while trying (or trying to try) to write a script for Mark to star in. Things take an ominous albeit hilarious turn as Mark’s day becomes marred by several unexpected deaths, all implicating Mark and Pierce in the process. What will these two half-wits do…
It was over two years ago when Doherty first had the idea for the film but he explains the film went through many changes:
“I kept writing it and putting it away; thinking it was rubbish and taking it back out – scribbling away. I’ve written a few things now and I think that’s always the process – one minute you like something and the next… Yet, it keeps growing in your head – even subconsciously somehow it stays alive. I had about six drafts in all before I showed it to anyone”
Eventually things came to fruition when Mark worked with director Ian Fitzgibbon’s on two episodes of RTE’s ‘The Clinic’:
“Ian asked me if I had any scripts floating around. So I did another draft gave him a copy and he brought it to John Moloney at Parallel Films. From there things moved remarkably fasts – I think it was only a matter of months before we got the go-ahead”
Having written and starred in the film – I ask whether he would have considered a dent behind the camera but it seems Doherty was firmly against it: “God no – I wouldn’t have a clue even where to begin – no Ian was the man for it. I mean it was hard to give up control but Ian and I had a good dynamic going. We spent a long time going through what I wanted from the script – where I was coming from. So then, on the first day, I did my very best to try and just hand it over to him.”
And then there is Dylan Moran. – no doubt why the film is attracting so much attention- as the feckless friend – desperate for a pint at all times:
“I think he’s incredible here. I’ve known him for years through the festival circuit and from the moment I picked up pen, I had him in mind. I originally wrote a sketch for the two of us and that’s where the idea of the film came from. We were lucky enough that schedules fit.
Moran isn’t the only household name to pop up – film fans will recognise Neil Jordan, the notably eccentric film director, playing a notably eccentric film director in the opening scene.
“That was Ian’s idea – to get Neil involved. I wrote the script and the character was based on an amalgam of several different people I know. When Ian suggested Neil, I just thought, brilliant. Whether he knew it was partly based on him I have no idea!”
Finally we discuss his expectations for the film at the box-office and his future plans,
“I’ve no idea what to expect in terms of the box-office” – I’ve toured the film and done a far share of interviews and the response has been good – whether that will translate, I have no idea.”