Jill Flint compliments co-star Eoin Macken on his writing and Macken talks about how writing and directing his own material has given him a deeper appreciation for acting at NBCUniversal Press Day.
Quadruple threat, Eoin Macken, has done it all; from modeling, acting, writing, to directing, he definitely knows the recipe for success. He’s starred in box office hit, “Resident Evil,” and you can find him playing the troubled Dr. TC Callahan on “The Night Shift.” He took some time to chat with VULKAN, opening up about his writing inspiration, favourite monologue, character preparation, his upcoming role in a romantic comedy, and of course, much more!
You’re an actor, model, author, and director! Which brings you the most joy and why?
Honestly, I can’t answer that. All throughout my childhood I simply wanted to be involved in stories, from reading adventures on a page, and I never thought it was possible. I’ve worked hard within acting, writing, and film making to create stories and ideas, and bringing somebody else’s character to life gives me as much joy as birthing my own. I used to be egotistical about it through insecurity, but I’ve been lucky to meet some amazing artists and working with people is a beautiful experience for me.
When creating characters for your novels or scripts, where do you draw inspiration? How do you ensure they are relatable and engaging?
I go through phases of writing blocks of poetry where I observe people on the street, or the subway around me, and I imagine where they’ve come from and why. So every time I write a character I like, I need to have some sort of visual idea of who that person is, what they look and smell and feel like. For me, acting is about observing and reacting, and writing is similar; it’s about being aware of this person that I’ve created and letting them exist fully in my mind.
Actor Eoin Macken, who plays a doctor on the NBC series The Night Shift, actually plays a guy named “Doc” in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Macken and the talented ensemble behind The Night Shift has steadily cultivated a loyal fan base, and now the actor is continuing to expand his creative horizons in the film arena.
As the Resident Evil movies reach their climax with The Final Chapter, the action returns to Raccoon City for a final battle with Wesker and the forces of the Umbrella Corporation. Eoin Macken plays Doc, a new addition to the franchise, who is leading a band of survivors in Raccoon City alongside Claire Redfield.
Screen Rant spoke with Macken at the press day for The Final Chapter about his time as a kid playing the original Resident Evil video game, how Doc fits into the franchise, and his hardest scene to shoot.
So, this is the final chapter of Resident Evil. How familiar were you with the video games, or the film franchise in general before coming into this?
Eoin Macken: “To be honest, I’ve watched all the films, and I used to play the games as a kid. Those games used to scare the s**t out of me. Dude, I used to go across to my buddy’s house, he lived—in American terms—I guess like a couple of blocks away. And I’d go over there and we’d start playing I guess the very first game, and you’d be going through that bloody house, and you just don’t wanna go through the next doors cause you just know what’s gonna happen, and it was horrific. And then the music, it was the music from the first one that just – It would build. Dude. And then I’d have to walk home. And so I used to hate that, I used to hate it. So yeah, Resident Evil was – it’s always had something in my belly.”
Originally inspired by a conversation the two had on a lunch break, the film was written, directed, and produced by Macken himself, and takes notes from John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men as it weaves its intriguing tale about two estranged brothers (Macken and Hopper) and their mysterious mother.
Four years later, Macken and Hopper are celebrating the American release of Leopard and were kind enough to join Pam for a very special episode of Hype Podcast. Listen in as in we take a look back on what it took to make Leopard a reality, reminisce on the process behind some of the most memorable scenes in the film, and much more.
We’re talking to Macken while he is promoting Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, and our conversation turns to the BBC drama, something that he remembers very fondly. “Merlin has been a big part of my life the last few years. I owe a lot to the fans, they are really, genuinely, an awesome group of people.”
While we were talking, Macken recounts his version of events after the action leave Sir Gwaine, supposedly perished. “I actually don’t think he died.” He tells us, “I think it’s more Percival had to go and do this thing and Gwaine was just unconscious, he would have woken up and everything was fine. I mean, obviously, he didn’t appear in the court after that so in my opinion he woke up with no memory and went on his travels again. He woke up with this really sore head and went ‘I have a hangover’ and has forgotten the last four years of being a knight or some bullshit then woke up and went for a drink.”
It doesn’t take long for Macken to get excited about the idea, and when the subject of returning to Merlin is raised (should that ‘six series and a movie’ rumour ever actually come to light… we live on in hope). “Sorry, we should actually make a short film of that!” he exclaims, cutting off the question of whether or not he would come back. “I’d do that! Gwaine just rocking up to a bar and has no recollection… thinks it’s all a big dream.”
“Do you know what,” he teases, “I have a bit of free time in February and March I might just have to go and shoot that. That actually could be a lot of fun.” It’s difficult not to get excited about the prospect, and it’s not just us who seem to be. “You’ve kind of given me an idea now. I’m kind of interested in doing that. You shouldn’t have done that to me just before Christmas.”
Vincent Cassel & Daniel Day Lewis. Their early performances in films like La Haine and In The Name Of The Father are sublime and are the reason for being an actor in my opinion. The visceral power and emotion they project on screen always fascinates me.
What was it like working with Milla Jovovich and Ruby Rose?
Wicked fun. Ruby is great banter and always had a funny anecdote on set. Milla is something very special however. She has such a zest for film making, and throws herself into stunts at all hours without a qualm. She was made to work very hard on this film, and she’s an example of how to be a movie star – she enjoys everything, makes everybody feel special and welcome, and works her butt off to make everything perfect. I both massively adore and respect her.
Was it daunting to jump into a film franchise like Resident Evil that is already established and has a large following of fans?
A little bit, because I was a fan of both the previous films and the computer games, and had loved Paul’s previous films such as Event Horizon. It’s Milla and Paul’s franchise, they built it, and they were so giving that I felt right at home very quickly. I wanted to do something a little different to what I had before in this film, and Paul gave me the freedom and faith, on such a huge production, to really have a go with my ideas and I love him for that.
What’s coming up for you in 2017?
We start back on Season 4 of The Nightshift in early spring, which is incredible for us, I have a second novel Hunter and The Grape, being published in late Autumn, and I am hoping our finance comes together to shoot a book that I adapted called Here Are The Young Men to film in September, it’s a very exciting project.
How did you move from model to actor to writer/director/producer? Do you prefer being in front or behind the lens?
I have no idea. I just did things, and over time other things seemed to happen, or projects intertwined. I have always just tried to make films, and my opinion has always been that to understand film and cinema I have to learn as much as possible about as many elements as possible. I created a lot of my own work early on – films that allowed me to explore my acting abilities. I want to be involved in telling stories and I love the art form and the possibilities of film. When I was younger I would write constantly and draw stories, so it’s an evolution of being a child I guess.
When do you find time to write screenplays and what inspires you? Does a degree in psychology aid in the development of your characters?
I write constantly. On set, on the train, sometimes out walking or having drinks with buddies in a bar I get ideas, or a conversation or comment sparks something and so I write it down. I’ve been known to leave a conversation for a few minutes to write down something that occurred in my head triggered by something somebody said or that I saw. I am always thinking about characters and situations and how people would react. I think I always had that interest, which is what drew me to psychology initially.
Any new independent projects in the pipeline?
I have a new book coming out later this year, Hunter and the Grape, which I think is quite beautiful, and I adapted a book that is being produced by Richard Bolger, called Here Are The Young Men, which is a very powerful, gritty Irish coming-of-age film in the veins of Trainspotting or This Is England. We are in development with the Irish Film Board on it and I’m hopeful that we get to make that later this year.