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Liam Alex Heffron - Full E.G.O. Magazine Interview Issue 17: By Lady J




Liam Alex Heffron is an award-winning innovator, writer and actor. He plays Garda Sean Doran in Ireland's most popular TV drama, Fair City and is also known for his roles in Hardy Bucks, Ros na Rún and contributions to current affairs programs including RTE's, The Battle for Rural Ireland. He co-starred in the award-winning short film Top of the Rock, and the upcoming Breaking Hollywood of which he also co-wrote and directed. He also wrote and directed the short film Ticket to Ride.


Liam studied at the Galway Theatre Company and the Irish Film Academy in Dublin. He became a regular stage actor and director on the Galway circuit, writing & producing three acclaimed stage plays. Liam later trained in Los Angeles with the Howard Fine Acting Studio, Margie Haber Studio, and with acting coach, Crystal Carson.


Interview:


You play Garda Sean Doran in Ireland's most popular TV drama, Fair City. What intrigues you the most about your character?


As part of my preparation for the role, I spoke to cops on the beat on detective cases and watched how the public interacted with them both on and off duty. It’s really fascinating to see how people deal with cops. Human nature is to be always ‘aware’ that you are dealing with a policeman, which in turn gets a different response from the cop! I guess I tried to bring that to my acting on Fair City and I can also see how police form a special bond with each other that can have good and bad aspects.


Didn’t you get police protection for making a web series?


Eh..yeah. Queen Elizabeth II was visiting the Republic of Ireland in 2011 as the first British monarch to do so. I released a satirical web-series pilot online, poking fun at the Irish Government for running the country into the ground and suggesting it would be best to hand Ireland back to the Queen on her visit!



That didn’t go well?


In a word, no. Extremist Republicans thought our satirical launch of a new pro-English political party was too real and as everyone is afraid of them, everyone disowned us including agents, fellow actors, and the media. After some very disturbing phone calls, emails, and not-so-subtle direct messages, I got police protection and they were not too happy about having to worry about me as the Queen was in town! A senior detective even asked what exactly was satire and why did I need to do it? In the end, the series ended before it began and I spent a few years out of the industry.



Is that when you went back to university to study history? How does your interest there translate into your screen work?


Indirectly, yes. After some years I returned to Ireland to study in University in Galway which I had missed out on growing up. I have become fascinated about how our shared past affects our present-day opinions, feelings and decisions, especially when we are unaware of it. Beneath lofty idealism is often much more base instincts which we need to understand. This is something the best TV and Films can capture and present us in ‘teachable’ moments along with entertainment.


How does your interest in history translate into your screen work?


I believe staying true to historical and human contexts and not deceiving an audience is important but that’s not to say I don’t love fantasy. Rather it is not to lazily or mendaciously present inaccurate history as a backdrop in a drama. For example, such as telling a love story during WWII, but with the Nazi’s as the good guys for no good reason, as opposed to something such as the superb, The Man in the High Castle.

Tell us about your new web series, Breaking Hollywood.


Breaking Hollywood is a comedic send-up one of the darker sides of Hollywood where low rent ‘experts’ in the industry offer young or foreign actors the chance at their big Hollywood break through networking with dubious ‘movers and shakers’. Over this three-episode web series we follow a ‘typical’ Breaking Hollywood week where the morally challenged but laughably inept Malcom Funce (played by me), tries to sell his version of Hollywood networking to naïve British and Irish actors just off the plane at LAX. I suppose I am back to the satire again! Hopefully without police protection this time!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv2EoT5vCRo&feature=youtu.be



What it is really like for wannabe actors coming from abroad?


The superb actor and comic Andi Osho and I based our Breaking Hollywood idea on our own experience of the unregulated (and often off-radar) promoters offering foreign actors access to Hollywood success via z-list industry experts. It is a minefield, as it is often difficult to discern the genuine experts from the con-artists or strawmen.



What have you learned through your experience developing and creating Breaking Hollywood?


Actors need to listen to their own tribe (which is much easier now with social media communities) and invest in their own career rather than jumping headlong into get-famous-quick schemes. I have also learned how bloody hard it is to make a web-series!