By David Hennessy
One film screening at the upcoming London Irish Film Festival will be coming full circle as it was actually filmed over here. Poison Pen stars Lochlainn O’Mearain as PC Molloy, a high-brow author who is forced to write for Poison Pen, the gossip magazine of April Devereaux, played by Aoibhinn McGinnity.
PC finds himself not only caught up in a world of stars and their secrets he is also in danger of becoming a celebrity himself. Will romance develop between PC and April? And if so, will he be able to find the right words?
Poison Pen is set in London with filming split between Dublin and the English capital.
Monaghan actress Aoibhinn McGinnity, known for playing Trish in Love/Hate, tells The Irish World: “We threw in lots of extra small bits that seemed so tiny at the time but they were really significant when you watch it back.
“We can make Dublin look like London, loads of companies come here to film here, Ripper Street’s done here, but it’s a bonus if you can get Big Ben in the background or just the famous London taxis. It just gives it an overall feel of London and it really helps people believe the story. It’s the smallest things that can really throw you from believing a story sometimes.”
The film has already screened at the New York Irish Film Festival with a good response: “The audience was just so taken with the light hearted feel of the film and they were saying there should be more of them made. I have to agree with them there. With some films, there is such an emphasis on a point being made across that it is all that anybody can see and it can get a bit a bit heavy or bogged down. You can actually get points across lightly and people still get the picture and the message and this was exactly what they were saying.”
Does the film deal with the themes of fame and its price? “I suppose it touches on that quite lightly. It sort of takes the piss out of the celebrity lifestyle. PC Molloy gets sucked into that world, looks down his nose at it and then he ends up seeing that some of them are people that are troubled, some of them are people that he really actually gets on with in the end so I suppose you could say it does go into the fame side of things.
“But there’s truth behind all these characters. They are funny but the reason that they’re funny is because we believe them in the first place. Some of them, not all of them, are caricature versions of some people that can be wrapped up in that world and it makes a really good watch because it’s interesting, it’s truth.”
With Love/Hate so massive in Ireland now, has Aoibhinn been surprised by the fame that has come with it? Can she walk down the street in Dublin now? “Yeah, I can. I think I look different from what I look like as Trish so I get away with a lot. Some of them don’t. Boys can’t really change their hair or anything like that. Some days people recognise you, sometimes they don’t. It’s unpredictable, sporadic. People are always extremely nice. They’re fans of the show and they want to say something nice and get a picture, that’s just completely lovely. It’s a credit to the success of the show and Stuart’s writing and everybody involved.”
Was it nice for Trish to be part of a drama that was a little lighter than the RTE crime drama that she is recognisable for playing gangster’s moll Trish in? “It is nice to have a variety of things to show your friends and family and to test yourself out and to see what it’s like to play different kinds of parts with different energies, I guess. It’s really important to me to do something different as much as possible.”
Also part of the cast of Poison Pen are Love/Hate actors like Aaron Heffernan, Susan Loughnane and Mary Murray: “It is nice, it’s always nice knowing people onset because sometimes your first day in is like your first day back at school.
“It’s also great to know their work and how good they are and there’s a huge part of acting that is trust and when you’ve got other people in a scene with you, trusting them and that we can work well together and collaborate and bring as much of the scene as possible to life is always really good.
“Familiarity is a great thing, sometimes you don’t meet people that you’re working with and doing a love scene with until that morning and sometimes that works in your favour as well because you just go with it. It is always nice to know who you’re working with.”
The London Irish Film Festival runs November 19-23. Poison Pen screens at Clapham Picturehouse at 3pm on Saturday November 22. For more information, go to http://irishfilmfestivallondon.com/.