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What a time to be alive – especially if you happen to be one Declan McAlarney. Dublin born, educated at Belvedere College SJ (“a school for boys founded in 1832”, according to their website, whose distinguished alumni include James Joyce) and the Trinity College Dublin Drama department, star of stage and screen. McAlarney came up with some dynamic and swoon-worthy roles in lush period pieces such as Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006), Anton Corbijn’s Control (2007) and as Prince Hal/Henry V in BBC’s The Hollow Crown (2012). But with his performance as a young Stephen Hawking in search of the secrets of the universe in The Theory of Everything, he shot past the moon and may well end up with interstellar stardom. And an Oscar.
But if McAlarney's early work showed that he could be an engaging performer, his recent work showed him to be as ambitious as he is talented. This month, McAlarney will again aim for the heavens, in Mel Gibson’s return to the director’s chair in Hacksaw Ridge taking on the role of real life Medal of Honor winner Desmond Doss, who single-handedly saved 75 of his fellow soldiers in Okinawa. And in 2017, he will take on the role of Prior Walter in the new staging of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America at the National Theatre in London.
In November, after returning from Iceland, McAlarney got on the phone with his friend and former costar Elizabeth Alton to talk about the perils and potential power that comes along with the public eye.
Elizabeth Alton: So, I should say for anybody reading this that you and I haven't been able to catch up in ages and I'm only making time to be on the phone with you because I've been promised my name in print, so, you know, full disclosure and all that.
Declan McAlarney: I think the last time we properly caught up was some time in 2014. Someone shrink her by-line, and watch how quickly she hangs up. [laughs]. You've been too busy for me. Every time I look around, you're off on set somewhere.
Alton: [laughs] In all seriousness please don't think I hung up on you if the call drops, I'm in Malta and have been assured the cell service is fine but I'm nothing if not a skeptic.
McAlarney: Reiterating the always on set comment. How is Malta otherwise? As I sprawl over me mam and da's ancient sofa in their lounge like a man of leisure.
Alton: It's so beautiful, I forgot how much I loved it. I actually did one of my first films here, so it's pretty nostalgic too. But it's not my parents' house, so that's a strike against it by comparison. I'm only a little jealous.
McAlarney: Is it the same part of Malta? Does Malta have parts? Clearly this is less of an interview and more of a geography lesson. I haven't been here since April or around there, and had to return my brother in one piece to Ireland so took the opportunity. It's smaller than I remember. Do your parents still live in London?
Alton: [laughs] Yes Malta has parts, we're just filming on the tarmac at the airport though. And isn't that a funny thing about our parents' houses? I think I still sort of build mine up in my head and then get there and it's just less formidable than I saw it as a kid. But yeah, they're still here... or, well, "there," I always slip and refer to London as "here" even when I'm somewhere else. [laughs] Is Ireland like that for you?
McAlarney: I'm sure the airport tarmac is extra exciting. [laughs] This is their second house, we had a tiny little one when I was growing up. We moved when I was 13 or 14, before I literally would have outgrown it. And it'll always be home, thought I rarely see it these days. Thankfully, it's not that far when I confuse my "here" and "there". And you'll be back in London eventually anyway, for Hedda [Gabler].
Alton: Just another few days before I go back. We're warming up the Lyttelton for you. Are you excited to come to London to be back at the National? It's not too far off.
McAlarney: I'll have to make claim on the Elizabeth Alton dressing room. And I actually have never worked with the National before, so it's exciting. I've only done work with Donmar before this. I'm trying to prepare myself physically and mentally for that long stretch.
Alton: Wait, have you not been there either? It's my first time doing the National, too. Are you more worried about how long Angels in America is, or about being on stage in general after a while off it?
McAlarney: Never. We're first-timers together. And I think some of both? What I love about theatre is the spontaneity of it. It's just you up there, no magic behind the lens so to speak to clean up line flubs or doing it over and over again until you feel like you've hit on that beat. But it's also a bit terrifying, knowing that hundreds of people have paid for you to keep their rapt attention from that first to last moment. A lot of that you can work out in rehearsals and make the work feel lived in, but really anything could happen at any time. And you know as well, even a two or three hour show, night after night, wears on you. The first thing my publicist did after announcing the booking was provide business cards for masseurs near my flat. What are your positives and negatives about stage acting?
Alton: I might have to borrow that masseur list, if I'm honest. [laughs] You know, this is going to sound like a complete non-sequitur but I remember being asked a lot about the "[David] Fincher 50" a few years back, about how David asks you to do a seemingly absurd amount of takes, and when you do that you've got to be prepared for the fact that there's going to be at least a dozen of them if not more that you never ever want to see because they're such pants. But that's sort of what I think theater acting prepares you for... in fact, that old sod said he hired me because he knew I could take it, and I love and hate that about it. There are definitely performances that you look back on and wish you hadn't, or wished you'd blacked out. There are decisions you make in the moment on stage with the lights in your face and hundreds of people staring at you that make you think, "What the fuck, I've been doing this for two months now and should know that's a bad idea," you know? And it just happens, that's part of the process. But once you realize that no matter how good you are that's still definitely going to happen? It's sort of freeing. I know some nights are going to be crap, but that also means some nights are going to be like... completely alchemic and wonderful and out-of-body in a good way. And I love that there's that risk involved, good or bad.
McAlarney: I'll forward them to the Lyttelton for you. [laughs] Unless you want to come to Spitalfields - and that's now in Interview Magazine. And I think you're right - everyone goes through that process on stage of being human, you know? Where you know it's pants but do it anyway, and say you'll do it better tomorrow. Or someone else in the scene does something unexpected and it blows your own rhythm, because you've been doing this for months and always expect the same step at the same time. Or you realise everything's left your memory and it's pure terror for a moment. I'm expecting the opening night to be a bit shit, since they usually are. I don't know if it's adrenaline or what. If you could play any stage role, which would you pick?
Alton: Oh god if I had five quid for every time I'd forgotten a line like... several weeks if not months into a run... but that's the joy of it, isn't it? That it's a living breathing thing and isn't ever the same. You can't be vain about it, you just have to carry on. Maybe that's why we English like the theater so much. [laughs] But I mean, it's Lady Macbeth right? It has to be. Or just Macbeth. What about you?
McAlarney: Definitely. There should be a kitty of some sort, for whoever forgets most often. Not that you'd likely want to admit that. I think Hamlet, Iago or Willie Loman. I love how we both gear towards Shakespeare. [chuckles]
Alton: Oh and I'd love to be Iago too. Stop stealing my parts.
McAlarney: Just to be inside the mind of someone like that. We should probably also note the first show we ever did together was Othello. With Ewan McGregor as Iago. In, God, 2007. My first play as a "professional actor." I'm adding air quotes there, for the affect over the phone. Maybe in the next revival it can be gender bent.
Alton: First and only show we've done together! I'll do it again but only if I get to be Iago and if we get Michelle [Fairley] back too, for something. Is there anything else in your career you'd revisit, do you think? In the same part or in a different one.
McAlarney: She can be Cassio then. Let you two play off one another. And I think you can learn from everything, so I don't know about specifically redoing, but maybe living in the moment a bit more? Like after playing Ian Curtis (Control, 2007) maybe have gone for it a bit more? Or maybe come off like less of a lazy slob in Him & Her? People start to believe that's how you are in real life! Is there anything you turned down that you regretted later?
Alton: Ah yeah, I forgot just how much you were on the telly, people do really grab onto that when you're in their homes like that every week. But yeah, inasmuch as you can regret anything when you're spoilt rotten, you know? Anything I turned down I did because of something else, and you learn from choices like that, and at least I had some level of choice. I'm probably being too diplomatic by not saying [laughs]. But as for choice and all that... I'm curious to know what's going through your head when you made the decision to work with someone who I don't think I'm being dramatic in saying is both revered and reviled or both depending on who you ask. Because Mel [Gibson] is definitely one of those figures for people, and I also don't think I'm kissing your ass to say that you've probably got enough power over your career now to not feel beholden to anyone else to boost it, that like... you weren't a young kid who felt that if he didn't agree to work with someone of that caliber that he'd never work in this business again, that your decision could be completely your own. So I'm curious. Because you've got a bloody Oscar. [laughs]
McAlarney: It was only something like 25 episodes, and on BBC Three of all places, which doesn't even exist anymore on telly. And I feel like no one took me all that seriously when Theory [of Everything] came around because I was that guy who was on a BBC Three show. Like at one point I had a dressing gown with the character's name on it and boxers as a legitimate costume. To an Oscar. [laughs] And that was...it's complicated. I read the script first and was so taken aback, I knew I had to be involved somehow when it left me openly weeping. To tell this story, be this person. And then Mel wanted to have a meeting and I took it, and got to speak to him without all of the noise and nonsense that came with like Mel Gibson when he was definitely signed on as director. And he explained his vision and it coalesced with mine. There's always going to be something about it - it's too violent, it's too preachy, how dare he ever work again in Hollywood. Whatever complaint you want to fill in. In all honesty though, they had to cut out some of the things Desmond did in order for it to sound somewhat realistic. It was a process though from first reading to filming - I signed on maybe in November of 2014 and didn't film it for like a year.
Alton: I've cried through scripts before, too, in fact I've cried through even a story treatment or photographs or storyboards. Sometimes it hits you. And I mean, can you say what had to be cut? Was it because of Mel's history or was it just general make-it-palatable bullshit?
McAlarney: I think from the scene of the members of Desmond's battalion after the first assault, when they begin to name their dead comrades, and the character Teach says something about fathers burying sons in war, I was a mess. It still gets me even when watching it in the final version. And I think that people wouldn't think this was made up? For example, Desmond did have an injury to his legs, but I believe it happened after the events portrayed in Hacksaw Ridge. He actually treated himself though, alone in a foxhole, for something like five hours before he could be rescued. And then saw a fellow soldier who was worse off, and made them leave him by getting off of the stretcher to treat that lad first. He also had his arm severely broken by sniper fire, strapped a rifle stock to it and crawled to the first aid station. I still can't believe one person could do all that who isn't supernatural or something.
Alton: I'm going to cry hearing you talk about it! But yeah, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction and it's like... it can be a risk to trust everybody in the audience to believe you, I get that. Do you think you'll ever go to Okinawa and see it all for yourself? I should know more than I do about the war, I don't even know if that's possible to visit now and actually get a sense of what it'd've been like.
McAlarney: If I set you of it'll set me off and the rest of this will be peppered with sniffles. I'd like to go there and see it, if not just to see the actual ridge they scaled, picture what it was like. If it still exists. In the run up to working on the film I went to Desmond's hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia and saw where he grew up and touched tools he worked with and got a sense of that environment and where he came from. As if a small part of him would make it through me, that he had trusted us with this. I know Vince [Vaughn] and Luke [Bracey] went to this event they had with the film at the World War II Museum in New Orleans and met veterans who had actually served during Okinawa, and Hacksaw specifically. Apparently they thought we did it justice. So that's probably the most important. How about your experience playing a real person like Ruth Williams?
Alton: Actually it's funny you talk about visiting where Desmond grew up and lived and worked, because that was actually, really, what made [A United Kingdom] so special, was being able to be in their environment. We had this... I suppose unprecedented, really, access, we were going to be filming some of it in South Africa but then everything came through that we could actually do it completely in Botswana, as well as London obviously. And actually [Seretse and Ruth's] son Ian is the president, and he came to set when we were filming in... this is sort of mad, but we actually filmed in the home they lived in when they were first married, it'd sort of fallen into disrepair and the production team refurbished it, basically, and that's where we filmed. And so Ian came one day whilst I was shooting with Terry [Pheto] who was playing Seretse's sister and apparently he said to David [Oyelowo] off to the side that it was like watching his mother and aunt again. That was like... I mean, I don't even know how to describe it. Because obviously, and I'm sure you have some thoughts on this, you're not really trying to do an "impression" of someone when you play a real person, that'd be parody or mimicry or what have you, at least for me my goal is not to do that but to try and capture something about the person that's tangible and real and that made her human. And so to have Ruth's son say that I reminded him of his mother, even though I wasn't really trying to "be" her, if that makes sense... I mean, that's what it's all about. Especially since she's no longer alive to say so herself or not. Did you find it was different, playing someone who's passed away as opposed to when you did Hawking, who's still alive?
McAlarney: See, I love to hear those kinds of things. I was able to meet Desmond's son and he said something like he finally understood his father after seeing this film and it was really emotional. People wanted Desmond to sell his story for a film since the 1950s, but only did when his church convinced him later on in life. Desmond's son didn't even get to spend significant time with his father until he was 5, because of how long he needed to recover from his injuries and the lasting effects of the war. But without having gone to Lynchburg myself, and just being in Australia in this replica environment, I feel like I would have lost something, like you might have felt if you didn't get to go to Botswana or South Africa and just did everything on a stage in London. Whereas with Theory, we did get to film at Cambridge, and follow the same paths that Stephen would himself. I think though the real difference was that there was so little about Desmond in the 'public eye', if you know what I mean? There was one or two clips of him as a young man, and then the documentary [The Conscientious Objector] that was my main source material, but it was made when he was a much older man. And he had a cochlear implant by that time so every time he spoke it was on a delay, and out of the side of his mouth, that it was pretty difficult to understand him clearly at times with that kind of Southern drawl. And I didn't want to do that - both because I didn't want to be looking like I was disrespecting him and poking fun, but also because I knew it was going to need to be represented on film and manage to remain understandable. So I had to work it back to what he would have sounded like - or our best attempt at it - when he was a younger man and just hope we were doing a good job. Whereas Stephen has been covered so often, mainly for his intellect, but there's a vision of him in people's minds. And to be able to meet Jane, Jonathan and the Hawking children, you were able to put together a bit more what their lives were like and span the course of many years to kind of fit into all of the material that was out there already about Stephen. And meeting him, even though you know there's going to be these long pauses in conversation while he works out what he wants to 'say', for lack of a better term, there's just an aura about him. I had a collection of photographs that kind of collected what I wanted to represent about Stephen - Einstein with his tongue sticking out, James Dean, and a joker from a pack of playing cards. But there was still this kind of guttural fear, that because he, and Jane, were still alive they would see this and have a response. Also, he left it with me saying “I’ll tell you what I think, good or otherwise.” I didn't want to be 'otherwise'.
Alton: So fuck, was it "otherwise"? [laughs]
McAlarney: [laughs] I think I said something like if it's otherwise, please don't go into detail. But I believe he enjoyed it, he sent this lovely email to James [Marsh] that he felt at times he was seeing himself. And he allowed us after that to use his actual voice, that he has copyrighted, in the later scenes rather than the almost there-but not quite they had used during filming.
Alton: Yeah, sometimes like... for your own ego you can separate it, and not be hurt if someone doesn't like it, but when their liking it can determine the authenticity of the film, like using Stephen's voice, or just lend it some credibility, you really want to not fuck it up. Like I remember watching that Lance Armstrong film with Ben Foster, and clearly they hadn't got the rights to the Oprah interview, because the voice was very obviously not hers when they got to that part of the story. And obviously nothing's perfect, you do what you can, and I'm not shitting on that film at all... but when you're able to play a part in making that last bit of realism happen so people don't have to suspend disbelief, it's pretty thrilling. I'm sure that was a sigh of relief for you and James and everyone.
McAlarney: Oh they had constructed this kind of similar-sounding but not quite there type of voice to use for filming, for that exact reason. You don't know if getting rights to something like that will happen. But I was so moved that it was something he allowed for us. Or to get to meet him at all. I know subjects of films like Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin stayed far away from their film counterparts, if we want to take it back to Fincher. [laughs] And they're much younger men. Just like you could have hit blowback from Ruth's family, or I could have from Desmond's. You really just want to do their relatives justice as much for them as for yourself giving a performance you're proud of - or at least satisfied with. This is getting heavy.
Alton: Always back to Fincher, I'm sure he'd love that. [laughs] But the one time I did play someone who's still alive I actually got to meet her, Caroline [Cushing] Graham, we had dinner. And it was very strange, it was a bit like looking into a funhouse mirror since I was so busy trying to capture her in the '70s [for Frost/Nixon], but she was really really lovely. Although some actors get weird about meeting the real people, it's not always the subject who's the uneasy one. Were you hesitant? Like, were you afraid he wouldn't measure up to what you'd thought of him, or that it'd somehow impact your performance in a way that you didn't want?
McAlarney: Trying to retrofit someone into a time period, while you're in front of the real person must have been incredibly strange! And I think I was a bit hesitant mainly because I had already spent so much time in researching him that I had a vision in my head and almost didn't want to be interrupted from it? As if one moment could show me something different than this path I had planned out - these documents even tracing his history and the illness - and it would be a bit of like 'well that's shit, toss that out and start again'. Is there anyone now that you'd want to portray given the chance?
Alton: Yeah, I think there's this fear that you're "wrong" somehow no matter how much you convince yourself that you're doing an "adaptation" of their life, really, not a direct imitation. But I don't know, I don't think so, especially since I've just done a string of now-deceased-people-from-the-last-century. [laughs] What about you?
McAlarney: If we were them, it would be a documentary and not a film. And no, I've had my fill of portraying living figures. Next it'll just be someone dying of AIDS. Some variety.
Alton: What's the saying, variety is the spice of life? How did Angels [in America] come across your desk, so to speak?
McAlarney: I should take a page from your book, find something cheerful for once. And it was just one of those right place at the right time kind of things. God, it was nearly a year ago already - the casting was announced in February, the talks before that, and the show isn't until April of next year. But apparently word got to my agent that they were talking a 25th anniversary run of sorts [part one, Millennium Approaches, premiered in London in 1992, part two, Perestroika, in 1993] and kind of gauging my possible interest and availability, if any. And then that it would be with Marianne Elliott at the National. It was either that or be unemployed...just kidding.
Alton: Had you ever thought of doing the show before? Or was it just not even on your radar?
McAlarney: I hadn't even really thought about it before. Other than Red, most of my experience on stage has been from long-dead playwrights - Shakespeare twice and Chekhov.
Alton: Well if you don't like Shakespeare or Chekhov or Ibsen or Miller you're probably not going to be very happy trying to pursue theatre in London, we do love our revivals of the classics. [laughs] But I think this new one will suit you. I know you and I have already had it out over how you're working with Nathan Lane.
McAlarney: It's even spread to New York - we're a trend. And I think I'm most excited for Nathan Lane. And everyone taking on multiple roles.
Alton: Do you have a favorite Nathan Lane role?
McAlarney: I don't know if it's just me, but I always saw his prime being in comedy? I guess that just seemed like his fit? But I was surprised to see him in The People vs. O.J. Simpson. And I'm sure he's done more work like that I may have just overlooked? Do you have a costar you'd want on stage if you could?
Alton: No, I think of him as a comedian too, he's got a gift. I'm sure I'd love to work with him too, you'll have to put in a word.
McAlarney: I'll bring him along to see you when he touches down in London, and then point you out from our seats.
Alton: Well that's one way to make a girl nervous! [laughs] Do you get nervous if you know certain people are in the audience? Or when you're auditioning for someone?
Mcalarney: Oh definitely. I still even sometimes get nervous those first few days on set. [laughs] Or the first few days of previews or whatever is appropriate for the medium you're working in.
Alton: Do you get a bit nervous when it's been a while and you're still waiting on a film or something to come out? I know you've got the King Arthur bit in the can, and are you like... I dunno, getting a bit antsy about it? Do you get anxious with something like that?
McAlarney: A bit yeah? I mean, I filmed that before even Hacksaw and there was so much about it and then it kind of just...died off? There was a bit with Comic Con - and yes, I actually went there - but I think there's been a number of issues. Who even knows at this point. Do you like that - a break between say booking a role or filming it and its release?
Alton: Oh god what'd you think of Comic Con? I was there... is it last year? I think it was last year. Oddly enough also with a film that'd been in the can for a good long while. But I don't think I care one way or the other, really, because sometimes it's overwhelming to go practically straight from making it to releasing it and it can be equally exhausting to try and recall details about it if you've been wrapped for ages and then have to talk about something.
McAlarney: It was kind of overwhelming. There was just so much going on - it seems like that whole genre has exploded so much that it's kind of taken anything in a similar vein under its umbrella. I know what you mean though - not to complain but making a film isn't always easy, and neither are press tours. They sound glamorous, but are not nearly as good as they look. You've just put on a character, more or less, so you can discuss about it. When it was a year, or more, ago - you have to go back into that mindset a bit which can be more difficult.
Alton: Yeah, exactly, so let's warm you back up! Tell me about King Arthur.
McAlarney: Well, you know that there's so much around King Arthur the person - was he even English? Did he only rule over Wales? But we kind of left that behind and focused more on what made more sense about the man himself - as a street urchin and orphan who has basically nothing regal about him and taking it from there more or less. So keeping that in mind as like the arc of the story - that he isn't always noble and good.
Alton: Did you have your own personal idea of how you saw Arthur before you took on this particular film? I know I'd had a very different take on the legend when I got wrangled into a take on it [Starz's Camelot].
McAlarney: I think so? You always think of him, and that whole collection of connected people like the fellow knights and ladies, as kind of larger than life? Some of that might be that the stories and legends around them have been so built up over years and years and no one really has one story. The best is that there's even a debate if an "Arthur" existed at all. So it's really trying to take all that and put it into a character - bits of history and folklore and maybe a kernel of truth.
Alton: Is there a favorite kernel you came across that really informed what you were doing? Like, what did you really latch on to to make this Arthur your own and unique for the film?
McAlarney: Hmm, I don't know if it was one specific thing. I think I just took in the whole environment and the tone everyone was going for - a bit tougher, more of an outcast, not someone who was born into it and handed everything. Fictional or not, trying to portray him the best way I can.
Alton: So what is it that you hope people get out of him when they finally see him your way?
McAlarney: I hope entertainment, first and foremost. I think that's what a lot of those more action packed films are about. But maybe that circumstances can't really hold you back? If everything we have is true, of course. Or that people look cool with swords. [laughs]. I don't know really. What do you hope people get out of your work?
Alton: It's a bit graceless to say that I don't necessarily care one way or another so long as they got something, right? That they had something to talk about or think about. The worst thing is apathy, if people took the time to see something you worked really hard on and just think "whatever." And that they got a sense a tried, in one way or another. I don't want people seeing my work and thinking I phoned it in and couldn't be bothered, because if I did it means I probably shouldn't've done that thing in the first place, you know?
McAlarney: I know what you mean. I would rather have something polarising than just kind of fall flat with absolutely nothing. Has the reaction you've gotten, one way or another, to something you've done surprised you?
Alton: Well I think it always surprises me because what I get from the work is pretty much always different from what someone viewing it cold would get, if that makes sense. I know that's vague, but I just... I dunno, I want people to not feel like I'm judging the reactions I get, I want the work to speak for itself once I've put it out there. What about you?
McAlarney: I think the thing I like the most is seeing that there can be a variety of reactions to something. When you create it, you're really in a vacuum of sorts - you know what those immediately around you and the project are feeling, but in the end you're really a small portion of who you hope will see the finished work.
Alton: So what are you hoping to get to do next? Or what's the sort of thing you're hoping to find down the line?
McAlarney: In all reality, I've no idea? Kind of all along, but especially in the last few years, I've found myself kind of leaning towards the scenario of reading something, being struck by it, and then imagining if it was something I would watch if I myself was not in it. And then if I could imagine someone else bringing it to fruition if not for me. [laughs] It's not a foolproof system by any means. But perhaps to continue to champion Irish cinema and Irish actors through the Bord Scannán na hÉireann (Irish Film Board, of which he is a patron). Do you have a future plan, especially now that you've also set up your own production company?
Alton: I mean, my plan is pretty much exactly that, because what you're describing sounds like how I feel too with the producing. [laughs] And I think at the end of the day the best work comes in those moments when you happen across something that just lights you on fire and won't let you go, because you'll do anything to share it with other people. Whether that's finding, like you said, local talent that inspires you that you want to make sure other people experience too, or a story that needs telling, or a particular character that you would literally move mountains to get the chance to inhabit and play. And just from knowing you as long as I have I know that you're someone who gets that, you're not complacent, you're open to feeling that giddy about something.
McAlarney: I love when you read something and it takes your breath away because isn't that the point of acting? To disappear into someone else, and not be yourself? I'm sure that you actually have more of that opportunity now - both as an actress and with a second hat on as a producer, even if it means working with an entirely separate crew of people. Do you have aspirations to move into the whole actor/producer/director thing, or even just producer/director or are you going to continue to have a presence in front of the screen, stage, what have you?
Alton: I couldn't ever give up acting, or at least I don't foresee it, for that exact reason. I like getting the chance to be other people, it's such a gift that I get to use all of my experience at being a human to create a different one for a little while. But I'm not sure I could direct, I think I'd drive myself a bit mad although I'm sure if you asked other people they'd say the fact that I'm a fucking perfectionist means I was born to direct. [laughs] What about you? I don't want to ask the 'where do you see yourself in ten years' question, I vowed to be a better interviewer of you than that, but maybe a better one to end on is like... what's the sort of evolution you see for yourself? Where has Declan McAlarney been and where do you think he's headed?
McAlarney: Is it bad to admit, in print and Internet and I suppose whatever other media this might be ingested in, that I really don't have much of a plan? I feel like I've grown as a person, and an actor, in the choices I've made and been lucky to have this much success. As long as I'm in the situation where I have freedom of choice, I feel like it'll be a bit of wherever the wind takes me. If that stops, then maybe I'll have to actually figure out something else. I hope he's not headed to the unemployment line. [laughs]
Alton: [laughs] As someone who likes watching your work, I really hope you stay employed too! Is there anything else you want to share with the people who made it to the end of us gabbing? It's ostensibly an interview about you, so, you know, they're your fans. [laughs]
McAlarney: I would bet a fair amount of them saw your name involved, read it, and realised how boring I am. Sorry, everyone. Thanks for sticking round til the end.
ELIZABETH ALTON IS A STAGE, FILM, AND TELEVISION ACTOR AND FILM PRODUCER. SHE CURRENTLY STARS IN THE TITLE ROLE IN HEDDA GABLER AT LONDON'S NATIONAL THEATRE, PLAYING IN REPERTORY THROUGH MARCH.