Belfast Telegraph

MARTIN McCANN

Who? The 27-year-old actor from west Belfast plays U2 frontman Bono alongside Ben Barnes and the late Pete Postlethwaite in Killing Bono, which will open the Belfast Film Festival tomorrow

What's it like playing Bono?

It was a role that was quite hard to grasp. I had to get the whole middle-class Dublin accent right. He went to quite a nice school so I had to make sure I reflected that. Don't get me wrong, he didn't come from riches, but he didn't come from rags either. A lot of people have the preconception that Bono is quite an arrogant person. I don't think this is true. I think he's a confident and self-assured person, but not arrogant. When he was younger he was known as a very generous person who loved his mates, so I've tried to show this.

Are you a fan of U2 and Bono? Were you sick of hearing them by the end of filming?

I'm a big fan of U2 and always have been. All I had to go on was old interviews with U2 in order to develop my character. I didn't get sick of listening to U2 while preparing for my role, but watching old interviews of Bono? Yes, that did get boring. I'm glad to see the back of those. I'm a fan of his charity work too. You can't look past some of the great work he's done for the causes he believes in.

How did you prepare for the role?

It was interesting studying him because he has a certain way about him - a certain tone. These things I really had to work on for the role. I even looked at the way he sat when talking about certain subjects. I had to try and give his character an authentic feel.

Have you met him or got

feedback from him?

All I know is that he's seen the film and likes it. None of the band were involved in the making of the film or anything. Hopefully, I'll get to meet them in the future. The name of the film was actually his idea, though. It was initially named after the book that it's based on, I Was Bono's Doppelganger, but they didn't think it would appeal to the US market as much as Killing Bono.

It's also one of your co-star Pete Postlethwaite's last films. What was he like to work with?

Pete was a friend of mine since 2009. I'd worked with him before in different films, like Closing the Ring. He was a truly great actor. Stephen Spielberg said that he was the best actor in the world. I remember Pete used to jokingly say: 'Only Pete Postlethwaite thinks he's the best actor in the world'.

Did he teach you any tricks?

He was great to be around. To be honest, you'd really learn something new every day from him.

From your beginnings as a young actor from the Falls, how did you get involved in big productions like The Pacific TV series and Closing the Ring?

My mum just put me in a black taxi when I was a teenager and sent me down to the Rainbow Factory school of performing arts. Well, before that I saw an advertisement for a role playing the Artful Dodger at the Arts Theatre. I auditioned for it and got it. I just kept acting because I liked it and my career basically went from there.

You're based in London now. How's that going for you?

I've been in London for the last three or four years, but I'm back in Belfast and Derry filming at the moment. It took quite a long time for me to settle into life in London. Once settled in I started to like it though - once I made friends and got to know the place a bit better.

What's the first thing you do when you get back to Belfast?

What I always do is go see my family. Then I'll meet my mates and catch up on what's been going on.

If you could give any young actor in Belfast one piece of advice, what would it be?

Just believe in yourself. I think it's much easier to do well at something if you enjoy doing it, so take whatever you love and just keep doing it.

* Martin isn't the first actor to play a real-life music star on screen. Others include:

* Sacha Baron Cohen of Ali G fame is due to play Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic

* Val Kilmer was perfect as Jim Morrison in the 1991 film, The Doors

* Jamie Foxx won acclaim for his role as Ray Charles in the 2004 film Ray

* Cate Blanchett, and various other actors, played Bob Dylan in I'm Not There in 2007

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph