Belfast Telegraph

King Richard, our rising screen gem

By Amanda Poole

Move over Branagh and Neeson – Richard Dormer's star is on the rise. The Armagh-born actor has enjoyed the rare achievement of having two films hitting the big screen in weeks.

Bitten by the acting bug as a 16-year-old taking drama at Friends School in Lisburn, Dormer made his first big impact back in 2002 when he wrote and starred in Hurricane – a stage play about Belfast snooker star Alex Higgins.

The Rada-trained actor (43) dazzled audiences and critics, including the BBC's Mark Kermode, with his portrayal of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley in Good Vibrations, released last month and for which he was nominated for best actor in the 2013 Irish Film and Theatre Awards.

He's back on cinema screens in the drama Jump which premieres in Londonderry tomorrow ahead of its general release on April 26.

"Jump was great fun," he said last night. "There is lots of twisty storytelling and I got to work with a great team."

He added: "I am also delighted with the success of Good Vibrations. We knew we were on to something special when we were filming it, but had no idea people would respond so well."

Dormer counts Daniel Day-Lewis, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeff Bridges among his acting influences and generally splits his time between Belfast, London and Perth in Scotland where his wife Rachel O'Riordan is artistic director at Perth Theatre.

He is treading the boards at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin until May 11 in the gangster thriller Drum Belly, which he also wrote, and will be on TV this Monday in the latest episode of global hit Game Of Thrones.

Dormer plays Beric Dondarrion in the popular HBO fantasy series produced in Belfast and which airs on Sky Atlantic.

"I play a kick-ass one-eyed warrior with a flaming sword," he said. "I am the only one with a flaming sword, so I'm quite chuffed about that."

Next on the cards is a new movie called '71 about a British soldier getting lost in west Belfast at the height of The Troubles.

"It's a brilliant script," he said.

"I play a kindly resident; my character is essentially a good man trying to do the right thing."

Quotes

Good Vibrations

The Guardian: "Richard Dormer gives an excellent performance as Hooley, and the moment when he is first ecstatically converted to punk in the middle of a pogoing crowd is an absolute joy."

Hurricane

British Theatre Guide: "Richard Dormer gives an awesome, sweat-soaked performance."

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