RTÉ TEN’s Sinead Brennan sat down with Robert Sheehan for a chat about life in Los Angeles and to find out more about his new film The Road Within following its premiere at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.
Robert was back in Ireland for the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival this week, and the website Entertainment.ie managed to get a quick chat in with him.
Playing a Tourette’s sufferer who leaves his treatment facility to scatter his mother’s ashes near the ocean, Sheehan is joined on his journey by OCD patient, Dev Patel, and the anorexic Zoe Kravitz. Not exactly what you’d call your standard role, so there’s no better place to begin.
What drew you to the film, seeing as it’s not a particularly easy role to pull off?
Firstly, the script was just very, very good, and of course the character was so appealing. It’s interesting to find a protagonist who is really an outsider, looking in, yet still not the strong silent type.
With such a tough subject matter, how did you prepare for the role?
I had a good amount of time to prepare, and in that time I got to hang out with people who have Tourette’s. I had a key guy in LA, Jackson, and a key girl in London, Ruth. The first time I met Ruth was at a Tourette’s support group. I arrived a little late, she went ‘You must be Rob, are you here for the meeting?’ so I said nice to meet you, and she goes ‘fuck you, to be sure’ as she threw her middle fingers up at me. So I was learning things from the word go.
In a recent interview Robert talks about his experience in the Californian desert with his girlfriend Sofia Boutella on Valentine’s weekend.
Robert Sheehan has revealed he was on his knees crying for an hour and a half in the Californian desert after taking magic mushrooms. The 27-year-old said: “I kept the whole thing a surprise and we went and set up our tent and it was incredibly beautiful. Then I said ‘Alright baby phase two of the surprise’ and took out a handful of magic mushrooms. We just wandered out into the wilderness on magic mushrooms. It was a f**king profound experience. It was glorious. Truly fantastic.”
The Laois native told Hot Press magazine of the effects he felt after taking the magic mushrooms. He said: “It goes through several phrases. First it’s all ‘Ohh I feel a bit dizzy, and look at how all the Joshua Trees are beginning to vibrate’. Then you start hallucinating – and because it’s in the wilderness, it’s so glorious. I think it’s the only way to take mushrooms. Do not take mushrooms in an urban environment, or with anybody you don’t know or with people who aren’t on mushrooms. You have to be with people you know who are on mushrooms in the desert. I was on my knees crying for an hour and a half. It just completely distorts your perception of reality and how you see the world. We came out of it just feeling really well…with a newfound joy. I came out thinking, ‘We’re all innocent and we should all love each other because we all just want to get along’ – but in a really profound way.”
Source: Irish Mirror
The Hot Press Newsdesk | March 19, 2015
While still adjusting to LA – “I was still all at sea here in the US”– Sheehan was offered a major part in a “really, really big televisual project”, that the actor nevertheless felt wasn’t quite up to scratch. Eager to have him on board, the show’s creator met with him, and offered to collaborate with the actor to create a richer, more dynamic character and storyline. Sheehan agreed, and was just allowing himself to picture his new life as huge TV star and household name in the States, when it all went suddenly, horribly wrong.
“My agent – who is not my agent anymore – took this to mean that now, we could do whatever the fuck we wanted. They were really, overly aggressive in the negotiation with the network, and long story short, fucked up the negotiation. I found out later the organisation felt they had no other option than to stop even trying to talk to my representation, and had to hire somebody else. I thought, Dear God. It was a really frightening moment, because I went from looking at the next four years of my life, to realising that my agent, who I had trusted with my job, had just completely fucked me over.”
“It was weirdly like being in an abusive relationship,” he observes, “because I was talking to my U.K. agent who was saying ‘They really fucked up, we should consider leaving’ and I was like ‘But they’re a big name, do we really have a choice?’ She had to literally tell me ‘You always have a choice.’ We tried to get them to explain themselves and they wouldn’t – there’s a lot of megalomaniacs out here who never have to explain themselves – and I just had this shock of ‘You’ve had my career in your hands.’ So I sacked them immediately. That was really disappointing, and scary, because out here you’re just in the hands of these lunatic egomaniac agents, particularly the corporate ones, who base their model on Wall Street. You’re just a stock, it’s very inhumane how they work out here.”
I ask him what the TV show was, and can feel his disappointment radiating as he tells me that “at the time, it was called Fear The Walking Dead. It’s watching the fall of humanity – Walking Dead but before the virus took hold of humanity. Biggest show in the world, Roe” he laughs bitterly to journo Roe McDermott. “Biggest show in the world.”