movies: One Chance makes a drama of re­al­ity....

Colm Meaney saw his fa­ther in his One Chance role, writes Caris Biz­zaca

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

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.

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