ARTS AND FEATURES — 11 November 2013

The Hardy Bucks: Buzz O’Donnell, The Viper, Eddie Durkan, Frenchtoast O’Toole, The Boo and Mike Salmon

By David Hennessy

Hollywood A lister Chris O’Dowd, former world champion boxer Joe Calzaghe, Shameless star Jody Latham and TOWIE’s Sam Faiers and Fern McCann were among the stars to join The Hardy Bucks for the Leicester Square premiere of their movie last Thursday November 7.

The Hardy Bucks have enjoyed phenomenal success with their brand of comedy that follows the adventures of bored slackers who dream of getting away from their sleepy town in the west of Ireland. What began as a mockumentary series on YouTube grew in popularity and went on to win RTE’s Storyland competition in 2009 and was commissioned by RTE for two acclaimed series and a Christmas special before making the leap to feature length film.

Shot last summer and set during the Euro 2012, the film starts finds leader of the gang Eddie Durkan and his friends frustrated to be at home while the action is taking place in Poznan. How to get there is a problem but not long after Eddie borrows his father’s van. Neither is money after Eddie’s friend Mike Salmon inherits some cash from his mother. After convincing Frenchtoast O’Toole, The Boo and Buzz McDonal, the lads are headed to Poland.

But nothing could be simple with these boys involved. When Eddie and Frenchtoast run up a massive bill in an Amsterdam strip club (with the worst part being neither can remember), an angry Dutch mobster asks them to carry drugs across the border. But can these lads be trusted to smuggle drugs competently? When their transport breaks down, they have no choice but to accept a lift from The Viper, Eddie’s nemesis.

Martin Maloney who plays Eddie Durkan with TOWIE’s Sam Faiers and Fern McCann

The Irish World asked stars Martin Maloney who plays alpha male Eddie Durkan and Peter Cassidy who plays Frenchtoast for their feelings on such a special night.

“I’m feeling really excited, it’s nice to introduce the film to a new crowd and hopefully it will be well received in the UK just in time for the Christmas market, happy days,” said Martin.

Peter told us: “I’m feeling strong. There’s more of my face to wash every day but apart from that I’m okay, happy out. They can’t cure me of pattern baldness but someday I’ll get there. I wear a hat in the film so it’s okay.”

Asked if he could believe a project that started as webisodes was now having its Leicester Square premiere, Martin said: “Well we always had lots of ambitions and we didn’t think Hardy Bucks would be in a film but we always knew we would end up (here) one way or another. We hoped for it anyway and it’s an interesting turn of events, it’s up and down and there’s doubts and then there’s ambitions and worries and then there’s adulation and triumph- It’s a rollercoaster, I recommend to anyone who’s getting into the world of entertainment to maybe check out going doing law or something more solid… But no, it’s moments like these that really come together and they’re an affirmation of the hard work and the time and effort you’ve put into it. Hopefully it brings a lot of joy to people.

“The UK was always a market that we inevitably wanted to be a part of especially because so many of our influences are British and it seems to have a good appetite for Irish comedy and it’s good to get the Irish word out there. It’s good to be here in London. It’s great that a bunch of lads from Swinford have managed to come here to London and have a premiere.”

Asked how he saw the show’s humour translating to a foreign audience, Peter said: “I think humour breaks down all cultures and barriers at the end of the day. If it’s funny in Ireland, it should be funny anywhere. It’s good fun, good craic, lads will like it.”

Chris O’Dowd at last week’s premiere

Hollywood star and Moone Boy writer/actor Chris O’Dowd was there to support his fellow Connacht men. Chris has moved into the director’s chair now, helming the third series of Moone Boy. The Irish World asked how he enjoyed it: “Good, it’s in the edit now, it’s looking terrific, very happy. I’m excited for everybody to see it. It feels like so long since it has been on TV. I’m excited.”

It has been too long, when will we see series two of Moone Boy? “Apparently, the last I heard it’s going to be the end of January which is good because it’s a great slot so I’m excited for that.”

O’Dowd has been cast as David Walsh, the sports journalist who exposed drugs cheat Lance Armstrong in Stephen Frears’ biopic of the former cyclist: “I’m filming that at the moment so I just came from there now. That’s going well, we just got back from France where we’re shooting in The Alps and doing all that kind of stuff and now we get into the nitty gritty of court cases and all that kind of stuff.”

On Armstrong the man himself and his cheating, Chris said: “I think he’s a very complicated man and in loads of ways a very straightforward man. He just had such a longing for success that he seemed to leave everything else behind and he lied to an awful lot of people. The doping part of it, I don’t necessarily care that much about but he did ruin a lot of people’s lives trying to get away with it which is the part of it I’m not so comfortable with.”

Asked about director Frears who has directed Steve Coogan in Philomena as well as Roddy Doyle adaptations The Van and The Snapper, Chris said: “He’s great, he at times sways from a curmudgeonly uncle to a very doting father, sometimes within the same sentence, and that’s always admirable.”

Known for his comedy roles, will this film about a more serious topic still have a few laughs? “I think part of my job is probably to bring a little bit of that so it doesn’t get too preachy or any of that kind of stuff but it’s a drama so hopefully it will be dramatic.”

About his role in the recent superhero movie, Thor: The Dark World, Chris said: “Do you know what? I was in for about a minute, I think it was literally a day, so I didn’t feel I had to infiltrate that world. I kind of saw Chris (Hemsworth) walking around at times looking like he does in the movie. My God, he’s an attractive man. He’s a big dude which I always find weird because I’m a very tall guy and looking at somebody at eye level is unusual for me and he is well built, I mean I would eat my breakfast off that.”

Early next year, we will also see Chris in Nick Frost’s dance comedy, Cuban Fury: “It was (good fun). Nick’s just one of my favourite people in the world, very funny and bright so we had a really good time but Jesus, I went in there thinking I was going to have some kind of aptitude for salsa dancing and every day was a fresh reminder of how wrong I was, but it was really fun.”

The large crowd certainly enjoyed the hilarious film at the Prince Charles Cinema and their fans can look forward to more with a sequel due to start filming in Spring. Like how this movie focused on the big event of last year, Euro 2012, the next instalment will deal with the big thing impacting on every Irish person: emigration. Is Australia ready for The Hardy Bucks?

For the full report of the Hardy Bucks’ London premiere, see the November 16 Irish World. 

The Hardy Bucks Movie is available to own on DVD from November 18. Watch the trailer here:

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