With the upcoming release of his latest film, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, we caught up with Eoin Macken. Here's our interview with one of Ireland's most up and coming actors.
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Beginning his career as a highly successful fashion model, Eoin quickly became the face of classic brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Braun. However, his desire to perform meant he has had roles in films such as Centurion, as well as television roles in the BBC's Merlin and NBC's The Night Shift. Now, as he takes on his biggest performance to date, we thought it was an excellent opportunity to learn a bit more about his career, his style, and what exciting ventures he has planned for the future.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter opens in the UK and Ireland on 3rd February 2017.
Where can we find you when you’re not working?
Depends. I like to travel and explore. I’m lucky enough to have gone to places that I never expected such as Morocco, Japan or South Africa, but when I have the time I like to come home to Ireland as often as possible - being away has given me a fresh desire to see as much of Ireland as possible. I spend a lot of time in art galleries, or museums when I’m free and usually write in those places.
What’s been your most challenging acting role to play so far?
Resident Evil was hugely challenging physically. Paul [W.S. Anderson] wanted everything to be very real and gritty so he chose some of the most run down, grimy locations that he could. He had us running through quarries in the middle of night before jumping into lakes, or being pulled through tunnels with massive fans.
The Nightshift has been the most emotionally complex part, dealing with an American medical army veteran suffering with PTSD, aspects of that have been both difficult and enjoyable in the layers.
Did you find that your background in modelling was helpful when transitioning into acting, or was it more of a hindrance?
I think any experience in front of a camera was helpful. For me, because I was very shy and uncomfortable having to ‘perform’ when I began my career, it helped me leave my ego at the door. Because modeling explicitly puts the focus very much on you as an individual and I found that exhausting, I would try to pretend that it wasn’t me and play a version of a character, at least in my head. It allowed me to loosen up certainly.
You have worked with the likes of Ralph Lauren, GQ and Abercrombie and Fitch. What was the highlight of your modelling career?
Abercrombie & Fitch, the very first time, was the best by far. I was in college, had no idea what to expect, had only done one test photo shoot for some head shots and a milk advert for my legs on a bicycle, and suddenly found myself in New York surrounded by all these beautiful people running around the forest half naked. It was mind boggling.
I did have a pre-conception of what type of people I expected models to be, but this shoot was a collection of kids my age who aspired to be musicians, athletes and artists - along with Bruce Weber’s sensibilities and the insanely talented crew he has, it really opened my eyes and made so many things seem possible.
Who’s your biggest acting inspiration?
Vincent Cassel & Daniel Day Lewis. Their early performances in films like La Haine and In The Name Of The Father are sublime and are the reason for being an actor in my opinion. The visceral power and emotion they project on screen always fascinates me.
What was it like working with Milla Jovovich and Ruby Rose?
Wicked fun. Ruby is great banter and always had a funny anecdote on set. Milla is something very special however. She has such a zest for film making, and throws herself into stunts at all hours without a qualm. She was made to work very hard on this film, and she’s an example of how to be a movie star - she enjoys everything, makes everybody feel special and welcome, and works her butt off to make everything perfect. I both massively adore and respect her.
Was it daunting to jump into a film franchise like Resident Evil that is already established and has a large following of fans?
A little bit, because I was a fan of both the previous films and the computer games, and had loved Paul’s previous films such as Event Horizon. It’s Milla and Paul’s franchise, they built it, and they were so giving that I felt right at home very quickly. I wanted to do something a little different to what I had before in this film, and Paul gave me the freedom and faith, on such a huge production, to really have a go with my ideas and I love him for that.
Your documentary, The Fashion of Modelling, is an insightful and affectionate look at the modelling industry. What is your favourite and least favourite aspect of the fashion industry?
Oh, thank you, that’s nice to hear. When we made it we had no idea if anybody would even ever watch it, so that’s cool to know people still do. My favorite aspect has always been the people, I’ve made some great friends, and worked with some incredible photographers who have taught me a lot about the art of an image and changed my opinion of what fashion is. Creatively it expanded my world.
Least favorite is the extreme pressure it puts on the individual. I found that constant examination of yourself from a beauty perspective exhausting. Bizarrely enough, the majority of models I know are all very shy and unassuming people who all struggle with being observed so clinically.
What are three items of clothing you couldn’t live without
Headphones for music, socks and underwear.
Where do you go if you want new clothes?
Probably the airport. I dislike shopping, so will only do it when I need something, so buying it on the move, or when I’m meeting friends for a drink I’ll grab a sweater or new shirt quickly.
What’s coming up for you in 2017?
We start back on Season 4 of The Nightshift in early spring, which is incredible for us, I have a second novel Hunter and The Grape, being published in late Autumn, and I am hoping our finance comes together to shoot a book that I adapted called Here Are The Young Men to film in September, it’s a very exciting project.