Q&A from Belfast Film Festival

Something to keep us happy while we continue to wait for general release of this interesting film.   Thanks to the Belfast Film Festival Team for providing this interview.  We are grateful.  Link to article follows.

Q&A with Colin Morgan who stars in Waiting for You

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A lyrical mystery drama, Charles Garrad’s spellbinding feature debut stars Northern Irish actor Colin Morgan (Merlin, Testament of Youth) and one of French cinema’s most celebrated performers, Fanny Ardant (The Woman Next Door).

Director Charles Garrad will take part in a Q&A following the screening of Waiting for You in the Queen’s Film Theatre this Tuesday.

Q&A with Colin Morgan  Posted on Monday, 3 Apr 2017

Actor Colin Morgan was born in Armagh in 1986 and is best known for playing the title character in the BBC fantasy TV series Merlin, as well as Channel 4 hit sci-fi show Humans and the BBC’s supernatural show, The Living and the Dead.

How did you come to be involved?

With this script I was immediately enthralled. I thought that it was really atmospheric, and mysterious. I like the fact that it had this road trip feel to it, and again what draws me to most characters is their lost-ness. I am often drawn towards characters that are trying to find something – whether it is outside themselves, inside themselves, or a mixture of the two.

When I met Charles I was taken aback by his enthusiasm for the story and how much passion he had along with his desire to get it made, which fuelled me even more. With an independent feature it can be more challenging to get it off the ground, which can make it feel even more special to be involved. It felt like a collaborative experience.

What was it like working with Fanny Ardant?

Charles didn’t want us to meet until our first scene. It had been scheduled that the first scene we meet was the first scene that we did together. I had been at this house in France filming for a few weeks, and the first scene that we did together was the scene where we first meet in the movie. That was great, because we were feeling each other out. She is incredibly warm, generous and glamorous, sophisticated and innocent, and you can’t help but admire and like her. She is a fabulous actress with a beautiful passion and a wealth of experience behind her eyes. We had a really interesting chemistry and dynamic with each other. The film delves into the past and the secrets that the house might hold, and there is this weird sexual energy that hangs around them, whether as lovers or a maternal love, making for a strange mix.

What was the greatest challenge for you?

Mapping out the journey in more or less every scene. When you are the character whose eyes the story is being told through you have to be more explicit in the changes that are happening and you are experiencing. If it is one note throughout the whole film then the audience are stuck with that for the duration, so you have to be aware that if the camera is your face then you really have to be doing some peddling underneath. The story does that naturally, but you have to be specific about where your character is in each moment. It is a constant jigsaw puzzle, and I love it, but definitely a challenge.

Colin Morgan was interviewed by Joseph Walsh




An Excellent and Insightful Conversation: Gee Wong with Colin Morgan

Gee Wong for 7th Man Magazine conducts an excellent conversation with our favorite actor, Colin Morgan.  (May 2016) … Our applause and our thanks!

Curtain Call

Colin Morgan is a man of many talents. Enigmatic performer. Charming Ulsterman. Method* actor. Qualities that have underpinned his ability to reinvent himself at every turn. Since bursting onto the scene over a decade ago, Colin has transported us back to the Middle Ages, explored the meaning of life as a twenty-first century android, and broken a few hearts as a troubled Victorian shrink. Gee Wong talks to the rising star about the intensity of the roles he plays, his way with accents and why he’s giving social media the cold shoulder.

Arranging an interview with  Colin Morgan is a lesson in timing. Given that his brisk schedule and unforeseen events have thwarted our previously arranged powwows, it’s a relief when the phone eventually whirrs into life. He introduces  himself in his deep loquacious Ulster drawl and all is forgiven.  “I’m glad we’ve finally got the chance to talk, there’s been a lot of back and forth, hope everything is alright?” he says. The raw accent, while expected, is captivating to hear for the first time – largely because he’s a master at disguising those native vowels.

From the West End stage to television to the silver screen,  the vocal gymnastics have been key to defining this award-winning actor’s march toward stardom. In fact, they often go hand in hand with the intense and angst-heavy roles he clearly relishes. “I couldn’t write down any specific reasons why I go for a part because it really is instinctive. It’s more of a feeling than a reason, you know what I mean?” he explains. “It’s like when you  meet someone and you just click, but you don’t really know why, but you just do. It’s a bit like that. I’m meeting a character when I read it on the page and if it does something to me, it literally calls.”  His confidence in an ability to single out roles is striking and the approach clearly works for him.  “It has to be the only way. The scriptwriter, director and producer – they’re all on board because they’re passionate about a project and you’ve got to come in and respect there’s been a lot of hard work gone into the stage where they’re casting – these things can go on for years!”  Auditions must be pretty  intense then?  “Yeah, I can feel it sometimes in auditions – if you can’t come in and deliver that level of what’s come before then you shouldn’t be there. You’ve got to love it!”

For his breakout performance as the eponymous young wizard in the BBC’s fantasy drama Merlin, Colin owned an English accent so convincingly that his burgeoning fan base couldn’t quite believe he was from County Armagh. What’s his secret to cracking an accent? The answer is, of course, a lot of talent, practice, and immersing himself in the role. “When I’m working on a character, the voice comes first, or initially the way they move, it all influences each other”, he says.  It’s a habit that has stood him in good stead over the years. “Just like a runner training for a marathon, you need to do your training, listen to a lot of people, the way they talk and move, and imitate a lot because you’re working in the business of mimicry”, he admits.  It’s a case of muscle memory for me. I love accents, I love doing them, as many as I can really.”

He’s recently been back on the box fine-tuning his Received Pronunciation English in the super-natural period drama The Living and The Dead. It’s a darkly written role about grief and holding on to the past, with no shortage of terrifying apparitions to hammer home the message.  What was it like returning to the fantasy genre after a few years away? “It’s weird because fantasy implies a story is lifted from reality. I don’t feel I get affected by the genre because the character is just living in their story, he says. “For me, it’s all about the script and reaching into the character that I can inhabit.”  The actor gave his all to the role, including staying in accent throughout filming. “I didn’t plan on it at all on the first day, but after we did our first scene it just stayed with me for the whole shoot. You’re in costume and even on your lunch break you’re still dressed as the character,  you’ve still got the long hair and beard,” he explains laughing. “You still feel it – the person and the voice are just part of it.” So in reality, not as odd as it sounds. “It’s just so much easier especially when you have a Northern Irish accent. To try to go from that to an English accent from 1894 – they’re miles apart!”

Talking of his appearance, his fans set Twitter alight after the first episode. The reason? A sit-up-in-your-chair topless scene that let slip an ‘all growed up’ physique and, inevitably, a new-found pin-up status for the actor. It’s a far cry from his fresh-faced debut in Merlin at the tender age of 22. Nevertheless, the comments went right over his head – he shuns social media.  “It’s just not me, really.  You have to want to do it,” he states without hesitation.  “It ‘s an amazing medium for getting the word out about shows, promotion, and for staying in contact, but there are a lot of negative sides as well.”  Can he point out a few of the downsides?  “When the words you want to say don’t have to be said face to face people tend to say a lot of stuff – that’s not something I think is healthy for an actor to be an open party to,” he adds. I get the impression he’s been burnt from personal experience and now views his privacy as sacrosanct.  When pressed further, he confesses a distaste for so-called ‘insta-stardom’ and all the baggage that comes with it.  “The good stuff can make you arrogant, the bad stuff can stay with you forever,” he declares.

That said, don’t call him a technophobe. Although he doesn’t watch much television these days, he’s all for the BBC’s decision to simultaneously broadcast and stream his latest show.  “It’s brilliant. It’s absolutely in keeping with how people are watching nowadays. When I do watch television, it’s on catch-up, Netflix and Amazon.”  He does also venture online to shop and email.  He has googled himself once – purely out of curiosity – which was enough to put him off for life.  So, how does he receive feedback on his performances?  “I never hear about it unless it is mentioned to me. Fans show their support in many different ways.  A lot of them write fan letters which I think is much more in line with how I’m likely to respond.”

A lo-fi solution, indeed. but totally in keeping with Colin’s old-school, yet easygoing style. Not much fazes him: was turning 30 a big deal last year ?  “No, not really, weirdly.  I can appreciate it’s one of those milestones in your life,” he states matter-of-factly before pausing and reflection on intriguing new possibilities.  “At the minute, I think I’m still on that younger side of the age bracket, but I’m looking forward to being an ageing actor and getting to play all those great Shakespearean roles as well.”

A busy year, it certainly was. Having played the lead in the mystery drama, Waiting for You, he returned for the second season of UK Sci-Fi drama Humans.  Apparently, there was tremendous  pressure to live up to the first season, which was a surprise hit for Channel 4 – its biggest show in 20 years. “It definitely went up in scale, much bigger, much faster, lots of new characters and more storylines,” he says of the production.  “I think the fans will have loved the direction it went in.”  A third season looks like a shoo-in.

Then there was the closing chapter of The Fall.  Over the course of the show’s story arc critics and audiences endured the stuff of nightmares as Gillian Anderson’s detective hunted sadistic serial killer, Paul Spector, played by fellow Ulsterman Jamie Dornan. Colin joined the show in season 2 as enigmatic detective Tom Anderson and reveals it was equal parts tension and anticipation during filming of the endgame. “A pure page-turner! I couldn’t wait to get to the next page of the script and that says a lot about the writer’s skill,” he admits.  What was it like working with Gillian?  “Just brilliant.  Gillian’s a consummate professional, a joy to work with and she has a really good sense of humour.  She had really heavy scenes, but she was just able to let go after filming,”  What about Jamie?  “Absolutely brilliant, he’s had global success and he’s exactly the same as when I first started working with him.  He’s a real talent.”

If last year was good then  2017 is set to be even better. He’s in final talks on a number of projects, including a film that he hopes will start shooting in the early summer.  Meanwhile, he’s attracting considerable attention from across the Atlantic.  “There are a lot of exciting dramas happening, and right now a lot of American things are coming through,” he says.

Talk turns to the day of his photo shoot, which I suspect might not have been the most enjoyable experience for the publicity-shy actor. “It was brilliant!  The guys were so good!  It was basically a group of people in a room with a camera having a bit of a laugh,” he volunteers, somewhat enthusiastically, before pausing as if to compose himself.  After a few seconds he continues: “Obviously, in any of these situations it’s not a normal thing to be photographed, it’s really not second nature to me.  So anything that makes the whole experience relaxed , enjoyable and fun, that’s the key, and the guys really did that for me.”

It’s apparent he draws a clear distinction between performing for his art and self-promotion – the latter which he accepts as part and parcel of his profession.  “I think it’s important to divide the line between your professional and personal self,” he says.  I press him further on how he finds the right balance between championing his work and maintaining a safe distance from media intrusion.  “With so  many shows being on TV there is a commitment in terms of publicity that wasn’t as strong as in the past.  Yes, when you work on a job, it’s important that you’re proud of it and you want to support it.  The other side of it is the nastier side, which can backfire on people.”  A diplomatic answer tempered with his signature frankness.

It’s nearing the end of the interview, but his last remarks remind me of something he said at the outset that neatly sums up the actor’s perspective.  “Whenever I did theatre, I’d go in, do the job, go home and trust that the work we had done would be enough.  We didn’t need anyone’s approval, disapproval, or opinions.”  In our current hashtag culture, it’s refreshing to hear someone completely unfazed by fame, while somehow still managing to wear their sensibilities so lightly.

When the words you want to say don’t have to be said face to face people tend to say a lot of stuff – that’s not something I think is healthy for an actor to be an open party to.

https://mywhisperingmind.wordpress.com/  (taken verbatim from published article … 7th Man Magazine, May 2016)
( photo: curtain call at the end of Mojo.)

Once is Not Enough …

With almost any of Colin’s characters, it is not enough to watch only one-time through and expect to acquire a good understanding.  The roles that seem to capture his attention are invariably complex and multi-layered.  He has the ability to make these characters his own.  If any of his audience are content with one viewing only, they will certainly see his character’s outer shell, the one the world can easily see, but they will miss the most intricate. subtle leanings of the inner man whose turmoil is often heartbreaking and all too real.

Happy New Year …. & Happy Birthday, Colin Morgan !!!

Irish Blessing.3

Irish Blessings for a New Year filled with Joy as we watch Colin continue to build our memories, leaving his imprint upon our hearts.

May brooks and trees and singing hills
Join in the chorus too,
And every gentle wind that blows
Send happiness to you.

May you live a long life
Full of gladness and health,

May the dreams you hold dearest,
Be those which come true, and
The kindness you spread,
Keep returning to you.

Thanks to everyone who visits, reads, or comments on this blog.  It is wonderful to share our interest in these films, tv series, and actors who provide us with exceptional moments of joy and laughter, sorrow and tears.  This is especially true of Colin Morgan who has brought a new appreciation of the skill of acting and has elevated it.  It is now art to me in a way I never saw before.

I wish you a new year filled with special moments, good friends, music in your hearts, and smiles on your faces.

“Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise Duit” 


Watching Colin Grow … (sharing thoughts)

Fires.Idirsholas.2 Leo.Leader.2 (2) recall-4Remember when there was so much clamor about his being the next Dr. Who???  (Modestly, we never thought it would be a role for him.)  Anyway, there is an interview where he was asked … and his answer was … “That box is already ticked.”  On the other hand, we thought Merlin very much a fit for Colin.  It gave him a lot of room to stretch his skills so that it became much more than talking to dragons.  Also, the 5-year commitment set him on a steady path.  For a young actor just beginning, what a great opportunity to hone his talent daily rather than skipping from role to role with short-term assignments.

So, now he is skipping … from role to role.  (Colin has a great sense of timing, it seems to us.)  So diversity is now his watch-word.  If every role cannot speak to him, he can at least try on many characters while he watches for the ones that do strike his heart.  Stretch and grow, stretch and grow, this is his direction.  And while many of his fans want to see him stay in a particular role they have become fond of, we are indeed fortunate that he does not.  Otherwise, we would never see what he is capable of, he would never surprise us, he would become ‘the same’.
So, familiarity is comfortable for some fans, but it does not seem to be the challenge in Colin’s heart.  You see this as well.  And we both have compared his performance art to music, as that is the closest thing to his ability … shades, nuance, melody, harmony, great choruses of emotion.  There will be more from him along his path … whether it leads to ‘stardom’ or no.  His is a passion having nothing to do with fame.

Early signs of Tenderness and Anger

Nathan is a man filled with both Tenderness and Anger.

Colin is an actor willing to immerse himself in emotions deep and powerful.


We see Tenderness very early in Colin’s career. As Merlin, his relationship with his mother, Hunith, is set tenderly before us. Every scene between them affirms her son’s precious high regard. His behavior toward Gaius clearly reveals the love in his heart for this man. His reaction to Freya as the Bastet is particularly poignant, in no way recognizing any difference between herself and the beast she was cursed to become. In Island, even though some found it disturbing, Calum’s initial approach to Nikki was very tender, slowly hesitant, unsure, but with a gentle touch as his thumb gently caressed her lower lip. So, Nathan arrives in Colin’s repertoire with the fullness of emotion he has been developing, building on past encounters … working with his co-star to create this warm, generous, spirited relationship with Charlotte.

So it was that Anger surfaced in Island. There may have been hints of it in Merlin, but Island showed us full-on fury as Calum bursts through the door to strike his mother. Leo’s anger with Maxie pierced our hearts, and we felt heartbroken to see Maxie’s bewildered face as his well-loved companion abandoned him so harshly. But, we must say, nothing to date has been so devastating as Nathan’s cruelty to Charlotte, an unrelenting invective that left her feeling shattered and bereaved. The strength and intensity of Nathan’s voice, coming from somewhere deep inside and spilling forth like a poison, spoke not only to venom but also to the depths of his grief and his inability to forgive himself.

As viewers we remain in that suspended space of wonder in which raw emotion has been placed before us and asks our understanding.


“My passion is acting” …

… pursuing those scary, challenging characters”


Excerpts from Belfast Telegraph interview:

“I never choose a genre over quality,”  “I never think, ‘I want to do that’, and sacrifice the fact it might not be very good.

“I always look for the character that gets into your guts and tells you, ‘You have to play this’. You have to be brave enough to let everything else go and let the character guide you. When I read a script, I look for that kind of pull.”

At the forefront of the unexplainable is Nathan, who Morgan claims possesses that “damaged character” element he enjoys tackling.

“First and foremost, he’s a healer. He sees hurt in people, he sees the pain and there’s something about him that wants to take that away from people. He’s fiercely passionate, so there’s a lot of love, especially for his wife.

“He’s determined to have a good future, but a big theme of the show is what lies beneath, and his reasons for doing things are unresolved, unhealed.”

“Every role dictates a different way, but for some reason on this project, I stayed in an accent the whole time. A lot of people didn’t know I was from here until we finished shooting,” he adds, chuckling. “The only time I didn’t stay in accent was when I was talking to my family, because they would have been saying, ‘What are you doing?'”

But point out that he’s garnered a lot of praise …. “Generally people are very nice,” he says, blushing.

“I think there are pros and cons to social networking, but on a social, personal level, it’s just not for me” –

(Colin Morgan)


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