To the your drum
and Dublin, he grins involuntarily and goes all coy about what he is doing next. “I don’t know if I’m allowed talk about it or what? ” he asks Mccarthy. They do some muttering, I hazard a guess, suffice to say it’s good. It’s ironic that although just turned 24, Mccarthy was having doubts of his own about his career choice, even though he too had wanted nothing but to be an actor since childhood. His interest is very much in theatre but this big break has reinvigorated his passion.
Straight after his Leaving Cert Mccarthy spent three years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He rather astutely got himself a US Green Card and in early 2015 moved to LA. Not an awful lot happened for him from the many auditions he went to in that first 18 months. When he got a break it was in Dublin. “I came back here and I filmed this and then I went back to LA and did another nine-month stint, but it was very disheartening,” he says. “I was planning on moving back here when very serendipitously the call came through for AP Bio.”
A new NBC Comedy series written by Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers, AP Bio is set in a high school (“I’ve only ever played 17 year olds!”) which has started shooting. “It’s not a sitcom, there is no laughter track, it’s a single camera, a lot more in the vein of The Office or Parks and Rec.”
Both agree that something interesting happened when they let go a little. Murphy nods as Mccarthy says: “I spent so long pushing, trying to force something to happen then as soon as I got to a point where I thought I can’t do this anymore, put my hands up and walked away just to re-evaluate, it happened.”
They also bridle at the bad rep millennials, for whom they are surely poster boys, have for not being able to stick at things. “It infuriates me!” says Mccarthy, pointing out that “millennials aren’t a product of themselves, we’re a product of our parents, you created us so if you have a problem with us you have to look at yourselves is how I feel personally.” Murphy adds: “It’s also a ridiculous generalisation.”
They point out how disenfranchised it can feel to be young when so many major decisions that will affect the rest of their lives are made by much older generations. Mccarthy, who lived in the US during the last election, points to the demographics that voted for Trump. “There was only one state where the 18-25 demographic voted Republican.” Murphy lived through Brexit in London. “That was the same, young people and old people wanted different things.”
One generational generalisation they do accept is that theirs is an emotionally richer one.
The Drummer and the Keeper is a story of friendship and good friendship stories often pack a more powerful emotional punch than any romance. “I was raised by women so I think that influenced me,” says Murphy. “But as a generation I think we’re redefining the notion of masculinity and I think it’s important to do that.”
And they see a change in the Ireland they were keen to leave. “When I moved away originally I was disillusioned with Dublin,” says Mccarthy. “I felt trapped and I moved to London and I had an amazing time but now, I don’t know if I’m seeing it through rose-tinted glasses, but it feels like it’s having a cultural, artistic renaissance.”
As for most people distance teaches you that Dublin or Ireland isn’t that bad. Mccarthy was recently called a Dubliner in print for the first time and he was delighted. “When I had these childhood dreams of being an actor I thought nobody in Ireland does that, but now I have friends popping up all over the world.”
Murphy is happy that his first big break has, despite his travels, happened in Ireland. “All you want to do as an actor coming through is be part of something that means something. And I was so delighted that it was here.”
‘It all sounds rather serious, but the film has a very light touch’
The Drummer and the Keeper, now showing, Cert 15A