movies: One Chance makes a drama of reality....
Colm Meaney saw his father in his One Chance role, writes Caris Bizzaca
WHEN Irish actor Colm Meaney first heard of One Chance, he thought it was a movie about the Khmer Rouge, not a Britain’s Got Talent winner.
Meaney admits he wasn’t familiar with the rags-to-riches true story of British opera singer Paul Potts when approached to play his father, Roland.
‘‘When my agent said to me it’s about Paul Potts, I said ‘what? The Cambodian dictator (Pol Pot)? That’s how clued in I was,’’ he says.
Upon correcting his mistake, Meaney chatted with director David Frankel, of The Devil Wears Prada fame, about the film, but he was still apprehensive.
‘‘I was a bit wary, because you think, ‘oh god, a movie about a guy on a talent show, we’re actually going to start making movies about these reality shows’,’’ he says. But that was before Meaney read the script. ‘‘I read it and I was blown away,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s very funny and very moving and the talent show aspect is just something that happens at the end. It’s more about this kid overcoming these difficulties.’’
One Chance stars British actor James Corden as Potts, who went from a shy, bullied shop assistant with bad teeth, to a worldwide phenomenon when his audition on Simon Cowell’s reality TV show went viral.
Meaney has met Potts, but he hasn’t been introduced to the man he brings to life on screen – Potts’ father Roland. Meaney says unlike historical figures (such as Margaret Thatcher or Abraham Lincoln) he didn’t need to mimic Roland Potts.
‘‘We weren’t trying to imitate these people . . . it’s a story based on his story,’’ he says.
However, Meaney wasn’t surprised that unlike his on-screen wife (played by Julie Walters) Roland doesn’t approve of his son’s devotion to opera. He says Roland is a working-class father who has worked on the steel mills all his life and like most parents, has difficulty sometimes understanding his son. Especially when that son announces he wants to be an opera singer. Meaney says it was the same for his father. ‘‘I grew up in Dublin in a working-class family and my dad had a similar reaction when I announced I wanted to be an actor,’’ he says.
‘‘A lot of parents react like that out of concern for their children. They worry that they’re going to get hurt, they’re going to be disappointed, they’re certainly not going to make a living,’’ he says.
‘‘A lot of what seems like to a modern audience, a negative parent thing actually comes from a place of concern and love.’’
One Chance opens today.
James Corden, Julie Walters and Colm Meaney in a scene fromOne Chance, Chance, about about the the rise rise of of Paul Paul Potts (below) from bullied shop assistant to opera singer and Britain’s Britain’s Got Got Talent Talent winner. winner.