Lenny and Mark: the dou­ble act

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

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

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