Quadruple threat, Eoin Macken, has done it all; from modeling, acting, writing, to directing, he definitely knows the recipe for success. He’s starred in box office hit, “Resident Evil,” and you can find him playing the troubled Dr. TC Callahan on “The Night Shift.” He took some time to chat with VULKAN, opening up about his writing inspiration, favourite monologue, character preparation, his upcoming role in a romantic comedy, and of course, much more!
You’re an actor, model, author, and director! Which brings you the most joy and why?
Honestly, I can’t answer that. All throughout my childhood I simply wanted to be involved in stories, from reading adventures on a page, and I never thought it was possible. I’ve worked hard within acting, writing, and film making to create stories and ideas, and bringing somebody else’s character to life gives me as much joy as birthing my own. I used to be egotistical about it through insecurity, but I’ve been lucky to meet some amazing artists and working with people is a beautiful experience for me.
When creating characters for your novels or scripts, where do you draw inspiration? How do you ensure they are relatable and engaging?
I go through phases of writing blocks of poetry where I observe people on the street, or the subway around me, and I imagine where they’ve come from and why. So every time I write a character I like, I need to have some sort of visual idea of who that person is, what they look and smell and feel like. For me, acting is about observing and reacting, and writing is similar; it’s about being aware of this person that I’ve created and letting them exist fully in my mind.
You’ve published one novel, “Kingdom of Scars,” and have another one, “Hunter and the Grape” coming out this year. How long did it take you to write them? Did you ever have to overcome writer’s block?
I’ve never had writer’s block yet, thankfully, because I’m always writing new stories in my head every day, so I always have something to fall back into. It’s sometimes a negative because I fluctuate between too many stories at once. But when I wrote both “Kingdom” and “Hunter,” the stories were almost fully fleshed in my head and it was just my job to write them down as quickly as possible. In saying that, when I write the characters I sometimes just take a tangent and I like to let that happen-that’s when I know it’s working for me, when I don’t have to force anything. “Kingdom” gestated over the period of a year, took me maybe 3 months to write, while “Hunter and the Grape” fell onto the page within 8 weeks.
What’s one of your favourite lines or metaphors you’ve ever written, whether it’s from a book or script?
That’s difficult, but I think it’s a monologue from my short film “The Green Rabbit and The Ice Cream Girl,” captured beautifully by Ryan Simpkins, where her character, Eilis, expresses her dissatisfaction with her strange ethereal world through eating ice cream. She is trying to save Emmett Scanlan’s Gerry from himself, which she does on a daily basis:
“I eat my ice cream really quick because I pretend that I’m a giant devouring a mountain, and that within the mountain there are little people who need rescuing from the snow, and if I don’t eat the ice cream quick enough then the little people will drown, or freeze to death, whichever happens first, or maybe both at the same time. Sometimes though, when I finish my ice cream, I can’t see the little people and I realize that I’ve EATEN them, which makes me sad for a moment, but then I remember that I can’t save everybody, that I tried my best and now they’re stuck here and are always with me and that makes me happy, and if they’re not happy then it’s their own fault for being eaten anyway, and why should I even have to save them?”
How did your modeling career transform into that of an actor?
Modelling never transformed into acting, or the other way around either; it simply complimented what I was doing at the time, and I was lucky enough to survive as an actor without any real acting work because I was able to model. I was acting before I modelled, and I was making indie films the same, the modelling work was a lucky path without which I might not have had the opportunities to act how I did, or meet some of the fascinating people that I did.
What are some of the challenges you faced when directing short films as opposed to feature films?
Time. Short films are a more specific way of making a point, which I have not mastered because I prefer the long slow burn of character exploration.
You star in “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” alongside Milla Jovovich, which came out this past January. What are some of the pros and cons of having to work and adapt to the special effects?
I don’t think there are any cons for me. Special effects are a lot of fun, because it’s not all about you, you’re serving the moment of the visual effect for the director and DOP, and vice versa. It’s very liberating and a little intoxicating because you’re not sure what it’s going to look like, and then, in “Resident Evil,” when you see the effect afterwards, it’s a pretty big kick!
What elements do you think have contributed to the trilogy’s billion-dollar success?
Milla and Paul. Paul is a genius, visually his work is fabulously intense, and Milla is incredible. Zombies are a great story jumping off point, but Milla’s creation of Alice gives the stories real heart and so you care about her. And if you can care about the characters in a crazy action infused zombie horror story, then you’re doing it right.
What was one of the funniest things that happened on the set of “Resident Evil”?
Damn. I am useless at anecdotes off set, but having adult male baboons hang over the ledge of the tunnel we were shooting in, and make noises at us, was funny and a little trippy.
For the past four seasons, you’ve played Dr. TC Callahan on “The Night Shift.” Was it at all challenging to identify with such a troubled character? How did you prepare yourself for the role?
I read a lot, and spent time with veterans, talking to them about their experiences and what had happened and how they had coped. I don’t think it’s possible to really understand what it’s like without actually being there yourself, so I just tried to do justice to what I considered the most truthful interpretation that I could that would be respectful and real to them. A very good friend, army vet Matthew Gonzales, who is a terrific film maker and actor now, helped me a lot through explaining how his experiences affected him.
What do you think “The Night Shift?” aims to convey about PTSD and war veterans?
The truth. It aims to bring a realism to the effects of PTSD on real life. It doesn’t matter how much of a man TC thinks he is, he still suffers every day, and has to fight through it on a daily basis. But he gets through it, and that’s important; there’s no stigma attached to him from it.
Was there ever a time when you cracked under the pressures associated with being a celebrity?
I don’t think that I am a celebrity, so that’s not happened.
Do you have any plans to get back behind the lens in the near future?
Yes, hopefully in September. I adapted Rob Doyle’s brilliant novel “Here Are The Young Men,” and we are hoping to get our budget together to shoot later this autumn, all going well.
Your next project, “The Wedding Invitation,” is a romantic comedy…a bit of a departure from your recent fantasy/drama roles. Can you tell us a bit about it and what spoke to you about this film?
Rainy Kerwin wrote a very funny script, and she’s very talented and a ridiculously cool girl. I wanted to do something a bit lighter, and working with her was a joy. She used an all female crew, and really believed in making this film a reality, and she is in inspiration that way. It’s a very funny, very lovely film, which I think will make people smile.
When you’re not writing, directing, and acting, where can you be found?
Who knows anymore. It could be the cinema, a bar, a bookshop or just wandering and adventuring, I like to think of life as one big adventure that I’m lucky enough to explore.
What’s one of your biggest fears?
Losing my family and friends. They’re the most important part of my life, and supersede everything else.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Hopefully continuing what I’m doing now, with the people I love around me.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Joseph Sinclair
GROOMING: Maria Mckenna using Bumble & Bumble
WARDROBE: Peter Werth, All Saints & Reiss
Interviewed by Rebecca Besnos
Post expires at 4:15am on Wednesday December 6th, 2017