Alex Murphy: The Young Offenders was an absolute gift and my proudest achievement

My dad always has good advice. His usual is: "If it's not alright in the end, it's not the end" which is a good one
Alex Murphy: The Young Offenders was an absolute gift and my proudest achievement

'I've had a great start to my career thanks to Peter Foott.'

I grew up in Rochestown in County Cork and lived in the same house until I was 18 years old with my parents, my brother Luke, and my sister Megan. After school, I moved to Dublin where I've been living for five years now. I'm the only one in my family that's into the Arts in any capacity, including my extended family. I broke the mould I suppose. My mum wanted me to go to drama classes when I was about seven years old because I guess she saw something there. I wasn't very good at sports though, so maybe it was just to keep me busy during the week. I remember not wanting to go because my older brother didn't do drama and I was embarrassed. Sure enough, I ended up loving it.

I did a few plays in Cork city growing up but I didn't know I wanted to be an actor until I was about 17. It wasn't my dream as a child. It really wasn't until I neared the end of school that I really thought about it as a possible career. We're told acting isn't a real job, so when I was younger it was like, "What makes me think I could do it full-time?". But then you grow up and you hear about Cillian Murphy. I saw him in a play and it was like, "Cillian Murphy's from up the road? Well, he's doing okay."

Understandably, my parents probably didn't have much faith in it at first. It's not until you're in the industry that you realise how many actors there really are. There are so many jobs. By no means are there endless jobs, there isn't something all of the time, but it's probably not as hard to find something as people may think. It's like music, there are so many different genres.

I'm very fortunate though. I've had a great start to my career thanks to Peter Foott, who wrote The Young Offenders, and I have a family who is so supportive. I spent most of lockdown back home with them in Cork. As great as that was, it's hard to move back home when you've lived away for so long. It's weird being home in Cork too because people kind of recognise me now. It's not me they know though, it's the bald guy with the accent who plays Conor.

The Young Offenders was an absolute gift of a job. Being a part of that show and film is probably my proudest achievement. We made the film back in 2016 when I was only 17 and we only had around eight people on the crew. It was normal for me at the time because it was the first film I'd ever worked on, but having worked on other projects since with over 100 people on the crew, how we made that film is beyond me. How Peter got that done will forever amaze me. It was just a labour of love and it was great fun. The fact that all that hard work paid off and people like it, it's just amazing.

Jock (Chris Walley) and Conor (Alex Murphy) in The Young Offenders
Jock (Chris Walley) and Conor (Alex Murphy) in The Young Offenders

I think the goal in life is to just be remembered as a nice person. If I was in the obituaries tomorrow I hope everyone would say I was a lovely guy. Whatever about my career — hopefully, it goes well and I'll be working for a while — but I think the effect you have on others is the most important thing. We just have to try not to hurt anyone along the way.

My dad always has good advice. His usual is: "If it's not alright in the end, it's not the end" which is a good one. "Pressure is for tyres" is my other favourite. If you're worried about something, I think it's so much better to say it out loud. If you say it to the mirror or to somebody else, often you'll realise that the thing you're worried about is a bit silly — and if it isn't, then it's good that you're now talking about it. My brain can get in the way of things, but I find the minute I say something out loud it doesn't seem as big of a deal. A problem shared is a problem halved.

The people I turn to most are often my family. I'm very close to my parents and I turn to my brother and sister a lot. They all come up to Dublin quite often. My girlfriend is also great. I've got some amazing people in my life, including Chris Walley, who plays Jock in The Young Offenders. We're best friends — we even have matching tattoos.

I don't know where a different fork in the road would have taken me. I feel like I'd be somewhat on the same path. I had thought about doing a multimedia course in CIT. Maybe I might have auditioned for drama school or moved up to Dublin a bit later. I think I'd still be an actor if The Young Offenders never happened. It would just be a different route. Who knows, maybe I could have been the president. But right now, I'm happy and that's the main thing. Long may it last.

  • Alex Murphy stars in Philidelphia, Here I come in Cork Opera House from October 5 to October 16. For tickets see www.corkoperahouse.ie

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