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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.
Robert has just joined the cast as the lead in Peter Jackson’s Mortal Engines! Filming will take place from March to June in Wellington, New Zealand.
“Fortitude” actor Robbie Sheehan and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’s” Ronan Raftery have been cast in Universal and MRC’s adaptation of Philip Reeve’s “Mortal Engines,” which will be written and produced by Peter Jackson.
Sheehan will have a lead role, while Raftery plays a supporting one. Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens will co-write the film with Christian Rivers directing. MRC and Universal are co-financing the movie, with Universal also serving as worldwide distributor.
Jackson and Walsh have been involved with the project for several years, having optioned the rights from Scholastic in 2001. Ken Kamins — Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens’ longtime manager — brought the project to MRC.
Zane Weiner (“The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies), Amanda Walker (“The Hobbit”), and Deborah Forte (“The Golden Compass”) are serving as producers, along with Walsh and Jackson. Kamins (“The Hobbit” trilogy, “District 9”) will executive produce, while Boyens co-produces.
The book is set thousands of years in the future. Earth’s cities now roam the globe on huge wheels, devouring each other in a struggle over diminishing resources. On one of these massive Traction Cities, Tom Natsworthy has an unexpected encounter with a mysterious young woman from the Outlands, who will change the course of his life forever.
Production is slated to begin in New Zealand this spring, and the film is set to bow on Dec. 14, 2018.
The sci-fi/fantasy movie is the first in a planned series of films based on Reeve’s novels. The series is comprised of four books: “Mortal Engines,” “Predator’s Gold,” “Infernal Devices,” and “A Darkling Plain.”
The “Mortal Engines” novels have won several awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Smarties Gold Award, and Blue Peter Book of the Year.
In addition to “Fortitude,” Sheehan can be seen next in Warner Bros.’ “Geostorm.” He is represented by Gersh.