Irish movie ‘Sing Street’ from ‘Once’ director John Carney has been winning rave reviews at festivals and early screenings across the world. It tells the story of a young musician Conor, who sets up a band to try impress a girl with humorous results. Movies Plus met up with rising star Jack Reynor, who plays Conor’s older & wiser brother to talk about his music tastes, his love of Irish film and his appearances in big Hollywood movies like ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Transformers : Age Of Extinction’.
‘Sing Street’ is real change of pace for you after ‘Macbeth’, ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ and ‘Glassland’, was that something that appealed to you?
Yeah it was lighter… Obviously Brendan is quite a tragic character, and he has a few moments that are quite intense in the film, but historically, my films have been much darker, so I think this was definitely a good opportunity to shoot something that felt good… That felt uplifting and that I didn’t have to reach so deep into hard emotions.
I can imagine films like ‘Glassland’ can be quite isolating in a way…
Yeah it’s tough because you get into the mind frame of a character like that, and then once the film’s over it’s not like you’re trying to shake the role off; you’re trying to shake the psychological grip that it has on you. It does change and alter how you are, when you throw yourself into something like that.
What was it like to work with Ferdia Walsh-Peelo on his first film? Did you give him any advice?
It was nice to be able to introduce Ferdia to things until at that time, at the tender age of 14, that he had not been aware of. Talking to him about music and talking to him about films… Sometimes our conversations that we were having on screen would roll over once we’d cut and we’d just keep talking about what we had been talking about. It was very natural in that sense. Ferdia… This was his first movie; he wasn’t really acting, he was just living it… That obviously lends a massive amount of authenticity to his performance.
Your character is the one giving Ferdia Walsh-Peelo’s character a musical education; telling him which albums to listen to and why. What were you listening to when you were that age?
I was listening to loads of different things; things like The Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk. I was listening to The Prodigy and The Jackson 5… Jeff Buckley… INXS; I always loved INXS, it’s a real guilty pleasure. I always loved Michael Hutchence, he’s such a legend.
Were you disappointed you didn’t get to sing in the film?
No! It literally could not have gone any better for me; I got to be in a musical film that’s going to do really well ‘cos the music is so catchy and I don’t have to play any music. It was brilliant!
The songs in the film are so good and so catchy, did you know that the songs were so good when you were shooting the film?
I wasn’t on set when they were being recorded, but obviously on the set of any John Carney movie you’re going to hear the music being bandied around. Any time I’d see John he’d whip out his phone and he’d play a very bare studio recording of what one of the tracks would be. I knew, even before we were shooting the movie, that the music was going to be solid, it was going to be poppy… I didn’t realise just how catchy it was going to be. Some of the tracks that are in the film… I think he’s onto a winner there.
What do you hope audiences take from the film?
I think it’s going to be different for every audience; every age group is going to respond to the film in a different way. My hope is that people are going to go and sit down and enjoy it, and feel happier walking out of the cinema than when they walked in. That’d be nice, and I think that’s been happening so far.
It’s a very exciting time for Irish film with ‘Room’ and ‘Brooklyn’ nominated for Oscars, and strong films like ‘Sing Street’ still coming out…
I’m really delighted for every one of them; they all deserve it. I think over the last few years we have really changed and evolved as a film industry here, and we have so many interesting new voices in the Irish film industry. It’s the best era we’ve ever had of Irish film.
Words: Brogen Hayes
SING STREET is at cinemas from March 17th