Young Irish fella Ferdia Walsh-Peelo was just 14 when he was plucked out a thousands of hopefuls to take on the lead role in John Carney's new film Sing Street. And while he had some impressive stage work to his name, including a part in Benjamin Britten's operatic take on The Turn of the Screw, nothing prepared him for getting in front of a camera for the first time.
After several auditions he was chosen to take on the role of Conor - a teenager living in Dublin in the 1980s who forms a band to impress a girl. That sets of an adventure in reinventing the pop music of the decade, complete with outlandish clothes and hairdos and some wonderful music sequences.
Singing wasn't a problem for the young star, but acting was a very new experience, especially discovering less is more:
"It’s very different. On camera less is more and that’s a classic but it is very true. I never quite got the thing until I saw bits of the movie and I did reshoots for parts where John was like ‘Ferdia – just don’t do anything, just stop acting, just say the lines.’ Even just on shots of my face, telling me not to move. And even if I blinked or something he’d be like ‘oh my god! Don’t do anything!’ And I never got that."
After working on the film and getting the chance to see clips of himself in action, Walsh-Peelo started to learn about the craft of acting, and cites Leonardo DiCaprio's performance in The Revenant as a great example of camera craft, working with just an expression on his face.
He also mentioned recent Oscar winner Mark Rylance, a stage actor who has success on the small and silver screen in recent years:
"On stage everything is so big. Because you’re just this little person you have to make verythjing really big and that’s why I’m always really impressed when actors come from stage schools and then come to TV. One is Mark Rylance and watching Wolf Hall he does absolutely nothng. There are literally just shots of him sitting there but you can see it in his eyes, these tiny things he does. And its brilliant, incredible and I picked up on that so much. And he’s a stage actor. I’d love to see him on stage to see what he’s like."
With this massive learning experience under his belt, we're sure to see plenty more from Walsh-Peelo on stage and screen in the years to come.