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IFTN Talks with Ireland’s Busiest Actor Moe Dunford
21 Jun 2018 : Nathan Griffin
IFTN caught up with Ireland’s busiest actor Moe Dunford to find out about his upcoming projects, who he has been most impressed with in the Irish industry in 2018, and how he would have ventured into the ice cream business, had his acting career not gone to plan.

Waterford actor Moe Dunford is best known for his role on History’s hit TV series ‘Vikings’, in which he stars alongside Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Katheryn Winnick, Gustaf Skarsgård, and Alexander Ludwig. He has also recently featured alongside Dafhyd Flynn & Lalor Roddy in Frank Berry’s ‘Michael Inside’, which picked up the IFTA for ‘Best Film’ at this year’s ceremony.

Dunford first shot to prominence following his powerful display in Terry McMahon’s ‘Patrick’s Day’, which saw him receive a number of awards for his performance including the IFTA for ‘Best Actor in a Lead Role – Film’ at the 2015 ceremony. This performance also saw him pick up the EFP Shooting Star award at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival.

Since then, Dunford has starred in a variety of roles from that of the overly enthusiastic rugby coach Pascal O’Keeffe in John Butler’s ‘Handsome Devil’ to the cutthroat prison inmate, David, who takes Michael (Dafhyd Flynn) under his wing in ‘Michael Inside’. Dunford has also featured in a number of Irish short films such as ‘Leave’, which he starred alongside Ian Lloyd Anderson (‘Dublin Oldschool’), and Ian Hunt Duffy’s festival hit ‘Gridlock’, which picked up a number of awards including ‘Best Short’ at Foyle Film Festival & Cork International Film Festival.

Having worked on a number of projects this year, those attending the 30th Galway Film Fleadh in July will have a chance to see Dunford in Lance Daly’s ‘Black 47’, which will close this year’s festival. Other upcoming projects include Treasure Entertainment’s ‘Metal Heart’, Stuart Drennan’s ‘The Dig’, Element Pictures’ ‘Rosie’, and Ian Fitzgibbon’s ‘Dark Lies the Island’. Moe also recently finished filming Fergal Costello’s new short horror film, ‘Stephanie’, a new 8-minute short shot in one continuous take, which will be out later this year.

What are the best and worst aspects of your work?

The best.

“I like that from job to job I get the opportunity to learn, about different stories or attitudes that I might have been ignorant to otherwise, had I not come across the particular script. From films I've worked on I've learned more about our class system, about mental health, & prejudice. I've learned more about what's going on around me. I get a kick out of work with each job being different to the next.”

The worst.

“When it comes to getting the work, sometimes you'd just love it to be as easy as sitting down with a director, looking them in the eye and saying "I want to work with you because I like this about your story, & I'm invested in it, let's make it happen!"

“But there are times when the waters get muddied, and it becomes about everything else that happens outside of the audition room, & it's completely out of your control, agents / producers / casting directors are involved, you're put on hold, opportunities pass you by.”

“When you're the actor and it's about getting work and providing for yourself, it can be incredibly frustrating at times. The knocks always make you stronger and if you believe that, better things do and will come along.”

What career do you think you would have if you weren’t in the film/tv industry, and why?

“I don't know, something completely different, I'd like to try to make and sell ice cream. I don't know how long I'd last doing it, but I'd give it my best! ‘Dunford's Déise Dairy’ it'd be called, haha!”

When did you last cry watching a film? (Or come close)

“Ah.. I think it was 'Maudie', directed by Aisling Walsh, I absolutely loved it. It's a real beautiful film, set & shot in Nova Scotia & based on the life & work of artist Maud Lewis,   its story and performances by Sally Hawkins & Ethan Hawke blew me away. They play an odd couple; they go through tough times, but the film is about a lot of things, perseverance in life being one of them. It's an Irish co-production and not like most movies out there - I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it - Fun for all the family!”

What Irish Actor/Director would you most like to work with, and why? (Living or Dead)

“Without a doubt, it has to be Terry McMahon. As a filmmaker the man is a genius, simple as. Working with him on Patricks Day from start to finish was one of the best experiences of my life. I love the man and want to work with him again and again. I'm putting it out there that it's going to happen & with the same team. I'm a big fan of Aisling Walsh & her work as well. Always have been, she’s fantastic.”

What are you most excited about for 2018?

“I'm looking forward to the summer and the different things happening. I've got three films premiering in Galway this year, Black 47 being one, the other two I can't say yet, but they're both good ones, so I am looking forward to that and sharing them with audiences.”

“Also I'm excited about my next gig, and playing a cop, as boyish as that sounds. I've always wanted to play one! I have been inmates & ex cons lately, so I'm excited about playing a cop in this new BBC show that I am starting soon, another first for me.”

Who has really impressed you in the last 12 months in the Irish industry?

“Aoife McCardle, the Tohill brothers (Andy & Ryan), Brian J. Falconer, all them Northy's are talented feckers.

“Daragh O'Toole, the composer for Michael Inside, and all of Frank's films - he's gifted, and constructs really powerful scores.

“Frank Berry, for making the films that he makes, seeing how much he puts into it from research, through the filming process and afterwards. He's a real gem of a guy, and a filmmaker who really cares. Similarly, Dafhyd Flynn, he's a brilliant actor obviously, but what impressed me most was getting to know him during Michael Inside and seeing how he interacted with everyone of the crew & then afterwards with the audience during Q&As. He's a gentleman.“

‘Black 47’ will close the 30th Galway Film Fleadh on July 15th.

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