Dublin actor Lloyd Cooney has played a key role in RTÉ’s Kin and says he wants to “make an impression” and he would love to emulate fellow Dublin actor Barry Keoghan’s trajectory.
ooney (25), who plays Caolan Moore in the gangland drama, told how a lot of last night’s pivotal scene in episode three was improvised, to help create a “rabbit in the headlights” moment.
“I was more attracted to the role, how pivotal it is and the overall story of the series,” Cooney said.
“I thought it would be a good challenge to come in, make an impression and then enjoy the show, as it goes along.”
The red puffer jacket-wearing Moore ignites the feud within the drama, and although he hasn’t appeared in many scenes, the infamy of Moore has already seen him getting recognised.
“In Keogh’s bar on Monday the waiter asked me ‘Are you in Kin?’ And he actually bought me a round of drinks, which was nice,” Cooney said.
“I bumped into a friend of mine, who’s actually homeless, he said, ‘Ah, Kin, that’s a deadly show,’ so that’s my two (recognitions) so far.”
Accusations have been laid at Irish dramas, such as Kin, of using middle-class actors to take on working-class roles. But this jibe cannot be made at Cooney.
He is a talented theatre actor and proud of his working class roots. “I’m from Henrietta flats in the north inner city,” Cooney said.
When asked about his homeless friend, Cooney said: “I think he just got out of prison, he said his flat had been taken off him.”
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His friend told him he thought he was “great” in the TV drama. “It was just kinda nice to hear,” Cooney added.
The actor talks fondly of his friend, who has clearly fallen on hard times, and of his co-stars with the same regard.
But he is irritated by questions of class, although he admits: “There’s obviously a lot you can grab from in terms of where I grew up [for roles].
“But obviously there’s a lot of positivity. I always find the link and anything to do with crime, it’s always something I try to avoid. It’s something I try to stay clear from, but when someone finds out where you’re from…”
He had previously been asked if he knew any criminals and he felt this was an unfair question to level at him, given he is an actor.
“I took a lot of experience from this [Kin],” he said. “I was doing cartwheels in the gaff when I heard I was doing a scene with Ciaran Hinds – he’s been a big hero of mine,” Cooney says.
“I work predominantly in theatre, Ciaran is someone who does both. When I heard I had a scene with him, I was like, this will be amazing.
“That’s something, more than anything, I’ll take from this experience, was working with Ciaran. He, in particular for me, is someone I’ve always looked up to.”
Cooney is aiming to project the positivity of being from the north inner city and it is no surprise he wants to follow in the footsteps of another north inner city actor, Keoghan, whose star rose to Hollywood, after Irish gangland drama Love/Hate.
“Barry is amazing, he’s such an inspiration,” Cooney says. “He’s in the biggest productions in the world. Every performance, he keeps showing a different side to himself.”
But the actor doesn’t believe the show glamourises gangland violence in any way.
“You’d have to have something lacking to think ‘that’s a life I want to pursue’,” he said.
“It always ends in bloodshed, incarceration. The lives that they [gangsters] live, albeit short, they are walking around paranoid off their heads.
“They’re almost waiting for it to come. I don’t understand anyone who’s watching this show, [thinking of] a career in drug dealing, ‘That’s what I want to get into.’”
Of his character Moore, he says: “He’s fallen into that trap of gangland. I don’t think he really understands the level of risk… he’s kind of done very naive things, that’s how it ends for most people involved in this thing.”
Cooney will continue with the crime genre with his next role in black comedy movie, Deadly Cuts, set in the fictional Piglinstown in Dublin.
Released next month, the actor plays Bingo, a man recently released from prison who’s “trying to go on the straight and narrow and avoid a life of crime”.
“He’s learned how to be a masseuse there [in prison]. It’s obviously a comedy, it’s something nice and different to Caolan. It’s written by Rachel Carey, she directed it and it’s starring unbelievable actresses. It’s definitely something to be excited about,” said Cooney.