Tuesday, March 14, 2023

'An Irish Goodbye' star James Martin tells aspiring actors with Down syndrome 'don’t let people say you can’t'

From ITV

Note: An Irish Goodbye won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film on March 12, 2023.

A Belfast actor receiving glowing praise for his starring role in new award-winning short film says people with Down's Syndrome with acting dreams should 'go for it'.

James Martin (pictured) stars in black comedy An Irish Goodbye, which has already won the European Audience Award at Leuven International Film Festival in Belgium.

It’s hoped that more awards could follow, after the movie also launched at the Oscar and BAFTA qualifying Leeds Film Festival in November to critical acclaim. 

The new movie is set against the backdrop of a working farm in rural Northern Ireland, and follows the reunion of estranged brothers Lorcan (Martin) and Turlough (Seamus O’Hara) following the untimely death of their mother (Michelle Fairley).

Under the watchful eye of odd-ball parish priest Father O’Shea (Paddy Jenkins), the brothers’ pained reunion takes an altogether different course when they discover their late mother’s unfulfilled bucket list.

James told UTV News he loved working alongside the cast. 

He said: “We had such fun, the atmosphere on set was fantastic.”

James hopes the film will entertain people following a tough couple of years.

”It’s the kind of film, that when you’ve been in lockdown for so long you just want to make people laugh.  That’s why the film is very good and it’s a brilliant story.”

James has already scooped a Best Actor award for his role in the drama Ups and Downs in 2017 and was also praised by fans for his starring role in Season 3 of ITV’s Marcella. 

He keeps in touch with co-star Anna Friel, and said it is great to have her support.

“I don’t see her as an actor, I see her as a person.  I would call her my work colleague. It’s good to have a work colleague like Anna Friel.“

James, who is a Mencap NI Ambassador, is hoping to inspire other young people into acting.

He said “I would say to people who have autism,  Down’s Syndrome or some physical disability, I would say go for it, act your heart out”

"It’s just one of those things, don’t let people say ‘you can’t act’, because you can act. It’s just one of those things in life.”

An Irish Goodbye is the second short film from duo Tom Berkeley and Ross White and is produced by Floodlight Pictures with support from Northern Ireland Screen and BFI.