Lenny and Mark: the double act
Lenny Abrahamson was working on commercials when his producer, Jonny Speers, saw one of Mark O’Halloran’s plays and asked him if he had any film ideas.
“Mark sent him a bunch of treatments and outlines,” Abrahamson said when we talked during the week. “There were some sample scenes for Adam & Paul. The characters and Mark’s style of writing really struck me, so we met up for the first time.
“I think we have a very healthy working relationship. Of course, there are ups and downs, but we talk very easily together and work in quite a disciplined way. We don’t pace around a room together. Things go back and forth between us, and then we meet every so often and discuss them. I’m really blessed to have that relationship.”
Abrahamson describes O’Halloran as a writer with a distinctive voice and poetry that’s all his own.
“It’s not to denigrate other screenwriters, but Mark is a real writer. He has an incredible ear for vernacular dialogue, for picking up the rhythms and sounds of people, and not just people from Dublin. Mark’s from Ennis and he has the sound of the world he grew up in completely down, but it’s not just a mimetic reproduction of what people say. He has a great ability to empathise with people who are neglected or overlooked. He finds great depth and pathos in those characters.”
Tom Jordan Murphy (left) and Mark O’Halloran (right) in Adam & Paul. Far right: Pat Shortt in Abrahamson’s and O’Halloran’s Garage