Robert Sheehan was on The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show this morning to talk Fortitude and more! Listen below.
Don’t forget to hop onto Sky Atlantic’s Facebook at 1pm GMT to catch the LIVE Q&A with Robert!
He may have got a lift in a helicopter piloted by Tom Cruise and is about to take his first lead role in a major budget movie but it’s obvious that Robert Sheehan is happiest when he gets to visit his hometown of Portlaoise.
He met with LaoisToday.ie in the Dunamaise Theatre last week and was clearly enjoying his down-time in his native town.
Mid-way through the interview he sees a former school pal, and renowned musical society performer, Eoghan Fingleton – a former schoolmate from Ballyfin college. “Jaysus, you haven’t changed a day,” Sheehan exclaims before an enthusiastic catch-up takes place. Jokes about the nicknames they have saved each other’s names under on their phones ensue.
He is enthuiastic about his few days home which saw him indulge in some local karaoke and meet up with friends including Emma Fogarty from Debra Ireland. “It’s lovely. And mother dear over there always slips a hot water bottle into the bed for me,” he said of his mother who was in close company.
“The last time I was home was in August. I was waiting to hear whether I had got a part and was emotionally invested and got way too hung up on it. Then I decided to head home and visit my parents and distract myself a bit” he said.
He subsequently didn’t get the part, but there were bigger things just around the corner for him. Shortly after that he got word that he is to star in the lead role in Mortal Engines, which is being adapted to screen from the acclaimed book series by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson in his native New Zealand.
Sheehan heads to New Zealand very soon and shooting will begin in March. He expects to be there for six months, with another three instalments possibly in the pipeline.
He isn’t daunted by the role, having starred in blockbusters before this, however, this time he takes the main part. “There is some pressure being the lead, I suppose. But I have always had the delusional sense that whatever it is, I can tackle it,” he said. This attitude hasn’t let him down yet – “It has benefited me throughout my life. There is pressure but I think things will be okay”.
Robert Sheehan on girlfriend Sofia Boutella: ‘You’re staring at five months apart, but it always works out’ – Independent IE
Robert Sheehan never ceases to be overwhelmed by his Hollywood surrounds, and he’s trying to work on that. But it’s difficult, for instance, when you find yourself in a helicopter piloted by Tom Cruise.
“I wish I could be comfortable in those situations,” explains the actor over Skype on a sunny morning from his Berlin hotel, where he’s working on Netflix’s dystopian thriller, Mute.
“Because he’s a genuinely welcoming, lovely person. And you try to be casual. But it’s hard when you’re sitting in the back of a helicopter, with headphones on saying, ‘So Tom, what else can you fly?’ That little voice in your head is saying, ‘what the f***?!'”
It didn’t even matter that Cruise had ruined Sheehan’s surprise weekend for girlfriend, rising actress Sofia Boutella, who was shooting The Mummy at the time alongside the A-list star.
“I took her to Dorset, had it all planned out. I was going to take her to Monkeyworld. That was the piece de resistance.
“But then she gets a call on Saturday saying, ‘sorry, we need you in Oxford for rehearsals’. Wasn’t thrilled about it, but work comes first. A car picks us up, we get there, meet Tom, and they get to rehearsing.
“Then he goes, ‘I’m flying back to London, do you want a lift?’ We jump in to the back of his helicopter and he takes the scenic route and gives us a tour of the country estates. And the whole time I’m completely wowed. And sometimes, I wish I could become less wowed by these things.”
Watching his pupils flare while he periodically scratches the patch of dark whiskers on his chin, I wonder if this insecurity in such glitzy company is perhaps central to the peculiarly infectious Sheehan charm.
After all, this is an actor who, by 21, had shared screen time with Andrew Garfield, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Nicolas Cage. And by 22, was starring in two hit series on both sides of the Irish Sea – RTÉ’s Love/Hate and Channel 4’s Misfits.
Now facing into his 30s, the Garda’s son from Portlaoise is shooting costly blockbusters: alongside Gerard Butler in forthcoming eco disaster epic Geostorm; David Tennant in crime caper Bad Samaritan, and the aforementioned Mute, alongside Alexander Skarsgard. “Can’t tell you anything about it, but trust me, it’ll be mind-blowing,” he ensures.
I hope everyone has their DVR’s ready! While we wait for tonight’s exciting premiere of Fortitude Season 2, read up on the new interview Robert did for The Version!
What attracted you to the world of Fortitude?
“It was mainly the prospect of seeing Richard Dormer, topless, in the snow. You should see his chest hair, it’s pretty magnificent. It looks like an old wolf has laid down and died on his midriff. But when the part came around, I binge-watched the whole show over, like, a two-day period, and, you know, that’s a good sign – I was addicted to it. The scripts zing along at a great pace, and the most compelling thing, I thought, was the character of Vladek. As a show-off, naturally you’re always looking for the thing you think is going to be the most interesting in the project, so to be that thing is always very intriguing.”
Who is Vladek?
“He’s an electrical engineer, but he comes to town seemingly with a mission.”
He has an interesting look…
“He looks like an old Inuit lady – wearing moon boots. Why not try moon boots? His look is very much derived from the earth, everything he wears is of a practical nature. ”
Is season two just as graphic as season one?
“There’s quite a graphic naked shower scene involving my character – that was fun to shoot. There is all of the gore and the horror which was in the first season – it’s back in spades, man.”
Is there a sense of achievement around the series?
“Among us, definitely, yes. What’s interesting about doing this show is that due to deadlines, or whatever, you’re getting scripts and scripts are changing and you are hurtling towards the climactic end. So at times when we’re creating this series we have no idea what is coming ahead, which is frustrating, but also quite exciting, because I suppose it’s quite like life. But I think we’ve done some interesting, really out-there, challenging things and I think people’s heads are going to be blown off when they see some of the Robert Sheehan Vladek Klimov I think people’s heads are going to be blown off when they see some of the mad, mad stuff we’ve put together in this season ABOUT VLADEK An electrical engineer and a new arrival in Fortitude. mad, mad stuff we’ve put together in this season. The thing about being in this show is you can’t go into it half-assed. You have to take the material, which is incredibly risky dramatically, and elevate it, which takes balls. So that’s been the challenge and it’s been really nice because the vast amount of Vladek’s journey has been with the one director [Kieron Hawkes] and very personal, and that’s been a joy because I’ve been completely uninhibited in pushing the boundaries of the scenes. If you go into something like Fortitude half-cooked and not willing to show up then you’re at nothing really.”
Fortitude Season 2 starts tonight, 9pm on Sky Atlantic