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Tuesday 30 May 2023 Dublin: 8°C
# cardboard gangsters
'I suppose it's time to get serious about this acting s**t' - Love/Hate's John Connors
Connors, best known for his role in Love/Hate, stars in Cardboard Gangsters which hits cinemas this week.

WildCard Distribution / YouTube

HE’S ONE OF Ireland’s most recognisable faces of the last five years, but John Connors thinks it’s time he got serious about his career.

Connors, best known for his role in Love/Hate, stars in Cardboard Gangsters which hits cinemas this week. Considering it’s a film written by Connors himself, one that’s close to home, it’s hard to see a man who’s not serious about his career or his art, but he’s adamant.

Connors plays Jay Connolly, an aspiring DJ who turns to drug dealing when his social welfare is stopped. He and his group of friends are soon on a collision course with Darndale’s most notorious kingpin. / YouTube

It’s an impressive film, anchored by another fiercely intense and compelling performance from Connors. Living on a halting site in Darndale, he knows the area well and was keen to ensure that he and director Mark O’Connor accurately captured the place.

“In Coolock, people are absolutely stalking me over it. The momentum is unbelievable, it’s like the Avengers or something!

“Anything they could do for us, without money a lot of them, they did.”

“The people were unbelievable,” adds O’Connor, “Everyone was helping us, we had a group of 50 kids who were following us everywhere we were shooting. It’s a neighbourhood film, so everything takes place within two miles.

“The whole film is really Darndale.”

PastedImage-72487 John Connors in Cardboard Gangsters.

Where many Irish gangster films attempt to ape the glamour of something like Scarface, the criminal beginnings in Cardboard Gangsters is more benign.

Connolly is a character who turns to drug dealing because his dole is stopped because someone told the Department of Social Protection he was DJing. With bills mounting and his mother threatened with eviction, he takes the option he feels is open to him.

Connors was keen to put that across, but says that O’Connor dragged the parts of the character and actor that were alike. The two have collaborated before on Stalker and King of The Travellers.

This film began as a germ in Connors’ brain that O’Connor encouraged him to explore before coming on as a co-writer.

“There’s a lot of me there, family dynamics, a father killing himself, my father killed himself in different circumstances, but there was a lot of me there. It was hard for me not to feel it.

“Sometimes the danger when you’re doing something like this, you can look at something with a closeup lens and you’re quick to judge.

“With this, we’re looking at it with a wide lens so you see the whole process and the motivation of how you end up in it. You’re never justifying it, you’re showing that there is a choice, but it’s a difficult choice.”

“It’s based on real-life,” says O’Connor.

“These guys are doing this because it’s a way to get the cars, the money and the glamour, but hopefully we’ve shown the moral side.”

The future

PastedImage-13198 Toni O'Rourke and John Connors in Cardboard Gangsters

With the film already attracting rave reviews and winning film of the festival at the Manchester International Film Festival, both Connors and O’Connor are looking to future.

O’Connor is currently developing a six-part drama with TV3 and says he’s working on other scripts.

Connors is currently planning a short film on the effects of clerical abuse, as well as a documentary in Palestine, similar to his John Connors’ America programme on RTÉ.

After that, the man who has starred in Ireland’s biggest shows of the last five years is really going to get started.

“Then I need to get an agent and take this acting shit seriously. I’ve never had an agent,  so…”.

Considering this is him not taking it seriously, Connors taking this shit seriously should be special to watch.

Cardboard Gangsters is in cinemas now

Read: ‘The word knacker makes me feel nervous and ashamed’

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