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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

MOVERS and SHAKERS: Chris Reilly, Internationally Acclaimed Actor Our Coverage Sponsored by Maine Woolens

Chris Reilly

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Born in Clydebank and raised in the Vale of Leven, towns close to Glasgow in Scotland, Chris Reilly
 is an accomplished international actor.  
​​Clydebank is an industrial town famous throughout the world for shipbuilding with Balloch and the Vale of Leven resting on the Shores of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs at the gateway to the Highlands. An artistic child and a gifted academic student, Christopher F. Reilly attended St. Patrick's school for boys, which is now Our Lady and St Patrick's in Dumbarton after which he studied physics at Strathclyde University for two years before dropping out in a period of family turmoil.

Working part time since the age of fifteen, Chris found labouring work on the railways and roads at one point finding himself pretending to be a carpenter while constructing a convent in Leipzig
​,​ Germany. Chris eventually settled on a career in Business development: first working in Engineering recruitment and sales before returning to his family home to create and run a new type of homeless service for local people, living and working in this environment for five years. He still returns to the area and maintains contact with a number of residents to this day.

The rigours of this job devoted to the homeless were diverted in a new hobby, the hobby became a passion and then a necessary creative outlet. Consequently, Chris left the care sector age thirty, having gathered experience on and off stage with amateur and semi-pro companies and was accepted as a post-graduate into the 
​ ​Drama where he graduated in 2009. He was working on Graduation day and in the six years since has appeared in six plays, twenty television shows, three films and around sixty projects as a voice artist.

Right now
​,​ Chris is working with a number of authors and production companies on the US east and west coast, including
 ​one in Manhattan - developing their books into films for television. Chris has several projects airing in the UK this year. He is developing his own screenplay, a modern day, modern language adaptation of Macbeth based on the Tenement gangs of Glasgow and Chris will appear in the US in April as 
​​Bernie Mullucks in Episode 
Season Five​ of the new season of Call the Midwife which will air in the US on April 3, 2016.  
​ We are thrilled to present Chris Reilly as the latest Mover and Shaker. Peachy Deegan interviewed Chris for Whom You Know​.

Peachy Deegan: What is your first acting memory?
Chris Reilly: Second year in High school 
​- ​an improvised scene with my classmate Andy. At the end of the class, my teacher said she had contacts at the Scottish youth theatre and had organise
​d ​an audition for me. I said I couldn’t go because I had a school trip to Brittany to go to and th
​at​ my Father had already paid. I wasn’t interested at that point.

What motivated your intrinsic passion for acting?
The catharsis in exploring the motivations and emotions of other people. It
​'​s a kind of selfish therapy for me.

What is the difference between a successful actor and one who is not?
Specifically successful or not? Very little. Sadly there are great actors out there who might not make it. It’s my biggest fear. I admire many actors and their talent; I often wonder how they feel about this question.

What did business development and sales teach you?
That a meeting is better than a call and a call is better than an email. Sometimes getting a letter is nice though.

What should people understand about the homeless that many do not?
​'​re all very close to that place. Who knows what is around the corner
​'​s important to open your arms to people. Also weirdly that there is more satisfaction in giving something of yourself than in getting things. I’ve had people come to me in the street years after our meeting in bad times and move me to weeping. I do it around a corner though and the wind is dusty on those days.

What have you enjoyed the most about each of your acting ventures and why?
I enjoy working with brilliant people not just in-front of the camera.

What do you think of the historic pay discrepancy between men and women in acting?
I know nothing about it. So far in six years of working I’ve earned a tradesmans wage or less in those years. 95% of actors men, women, black white or any shade in-between earn less than 5k a year acting in the UK and I have a few bumps on my head from smashing against the glass ceiling because directors want me yet producers want a bigger name. I refuse to make inequality about anything other than the have’s and the have-nots. Doesn't matter who you are, if you don't have money to float you and contacts to push you it's exponentially harder to climb the ladder if it's even possible at all. I’ll worry about other people's careers when I get there.

What directors would you like to work with and what do you think you would learn from them?
Kevin Spacey - The man is a phenomenal all round talent. Although he is celebrated, I get the feeling (because I’ve never met him) that he has even more under his belt: passion, freedom and a commitment to performance and performers that is both theatrical and curious. I love that. Clint Eastwood - He’s a hero of mine - I just like his style. Mark Rylance, Steve McQueen. Mel Gibson. The Cohen Brothers. There are no women in there and there should be but I can't fix that from the bottom and I’m not going to add one insincerely.

What do you attribute your acting success to?
If I have any success it
​'​s down to something given to me; I’m pretty spiritual and I
​'​m thankful for that. I’m a 
​C​hristian but I’ll never choke a person with it. Also
​,​ I think I give all of myself to something
​:​ complete commitment to use what I have to the fullest extent. I believe right now I am doing what I should be and I’m happy to go with that. Is that enough to be successful? Hopefully I can find happiness but 
​w​hatever way you look at it that’s not my decision.

Do you enjoy the stage or the screen more and why?
Screen definitely, for a whole load of really dumb sounding reasons that would make fellow actors hurl so I won
​'​t choke anyone with any detail on that one either, but I have done a play a year since graduation and worked with some amazing people. I cant believe I get paid to do it as it's really just about me going back to school and learning about something that, compared to others, I’m not great at.

Can you please tell us what you are doing in Manhattan or is it a secret (and if it is a secret can we be among those that it is announced to when it breaks please)?
I’m not in Manhattan right now. A publisher put me in touch with an author who has this amazing story that he wants me to help tell so that
​'​s the connection.

When you're not working, how can people tell when you're acting and when you're being real?
Actually it
​'​s hard for people who love me sometimes. My mother knows I am working on the phone when she calls and my ex-girlfriend used to hate it
​;​ when I
​'m thinking about a part or a character I tend to lean a bit in their direction.  I try not to and need to work more on re-setting. It's important to me that how I work does no harm, especially to other actors and how they work. I do think though that while actors are pretending that they are truthful people, working on a character is about trying to find the truth as they might see it. It
​'​s not in an actors nature to be deceitful. 

What should the world know about Scotland?
​'​s unbelievably beautiful. Its people have giving, generous hearts and open, welcoming hands. They are fiercely proud and protective even to their own detriment. They are passionate and caring, my whole family, my life is there. A lot of what drives me comes from Scotland; I’m very proud of my country and it
​'​s where I want to return.

One of our friends from UCC is Scottish and from the Mull of Kintyre and he says the Loch Ness Monster lives. Is he correct-why or why not?
I don't know, I’ve never seen it; if I did I’d rather be wearing a kilt than chinos.

What is your favorite style of tartan?
​​MacFarlane. My clan.

What kind of scotch whisky do you think is best, what year of it or a blend, and why?
​​Auchentoshan 12 is my Father's favourite. They are our local distillery. It
​'​s sweet and full of barley and vanilla with a long dry finish
​;​ they used to do a 10 year old and dad would pull water from his own well and sit outside with it sometimes. It sounds very romantic but he was probably wearing a track-suit and slippers at the time.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
My Father.

What are you proudest of and why?
My younger brother Michael
​.​ He stays at home and runs a business, he looks after everyone, he’s as solid as a rock. 

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
I’m writing a film, it's a version of Macbeth in Modern language in Modern Glasgow. I’d like to get that made.

What honors and awards have you received in your profession?
Not many, I’m just starting. I get a bit of fan-mail though, stuff through the post, that
​'​s always nice.

What one word best describes you and why?
Injured. Like most people I am both strong and weak, I feel guilt about the past and worry about the future, the love I have experienced, the hardship, deep grief, 
​s​hared experiences with the people I’ve met and known. It
​'​s horrific and beautiful at the same time. I’ve thought about it a lot, and it
​'​s an Injury that is carried and treasured. It
​'​s with me all the time. I cherish and respect it and am thankful for it and where it has taken me. 

What do you take your sense of identity from?
My Family and friends.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? And in Scotland? And London?
Scotland is in Loch Lomond, on the shore at Luss or on the top of the Kilpatrick hills looking down the Clyde, or driving across the flat Stirling Straits with the snowy Ochils and the Wallace monument in front. 
London is the South bank or swimming in Highgate ponds.
I’ve never been to Manhattan - where are the best places?

What is your favorite shop in Scotland? London?
Scotland would be Frasers or Jenners, London would be a posh tailors on Savile Row buying my Oscar suit - My friend just did this and his face-book pictures make me jealous - and a little bit proud.

If you could hire anybody who would it be and why?
​​Margot Robbie, Just to look at. 

What is your favorite drink?
Guinness or Gin and Tonic - never on the same evening.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party?
I fell down a set of steps and knocked myself out. My large friend carried me to the ambulance and came to the hospital. I asked him what had happened and he said I was drunk and crying. By chance I bumped into the paramedic at the gym six months later. He told me I hadn’t been crying at all. Anthony still thinks this is very funny.

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? Scotland? London?
​I'd love to visit Patsy's Italian Restaurant, the one and only on West 56th Street in Manhattan; friends tell me the food is awesome and it would be great to visit because of the the Luca Brasi connection from the Godfather.  It sounds like a great place and I'd love to visit. ​Scotland: 
​​Chimes Chinese in Balloch - this sounds daft but he does a Worcestershire based sauce that you cannot get anywhere else, I've loved it since I was a child. London: 
La-Porchetta in Muswell Hill.
What is your favorite Manhattan book or favorite character in Manhattan literature? Scotland? London?
Vito Andolini/ Corleone - Mario Puzo’s The Godfather - The film
​'​s great, the book is amazing.
London Ian Fleming's James Bond, no question - though he is a Scott right?
Scotland: Rob Roy from Sir Walter Scott's tale AND Begbie, Trainspotting, by Irvine Welsh

Who would you like to be for a day and why?
Sean Connery in the Sixties - He lived life.
Phillipe Petit for his focus on the wire and his love of life surrounding and complimenting his passion. Aerton Senna for his similar commitment and vocation.

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? Scotland? London?
In London The Houses of Parliament - "Hey MP’s sorry, out! Move into the Starbucks down the road. Bring me a bottle of whisky with a gate on it and tell the queen to wait her turn".
In Scotland a Loch, Loch Lomond preferably, Loch Reilly sounds much better.
In Manhattan a bar "Reilly’s" - or has that been done already? 
​[no, only O'Reillys]​

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? Scotland? London?
I box in both Glasgow and London and regularly get punched on the nose, but watching the young boys fight and seeing how well they turn out because of the discipline involved is brilliant. I’ve never been to Manhattan. When I come I will mug Adam Sandler and be the only man in the history of his films fast enough to get away.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? Scotland? London?
Chimes Chinese in Scotland, I have never found anything like that sauce.
London, the theatre here is phenomenal, the new writing and the big shows - I imagine it's the same in New York too.

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why?
My first real boss died a year ago. I never really got to tell him how grateful I was for his mentorship; we were too busy kidding around. I'd like to be able to walk into his spot at the bar and buy him a pint one last time.

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? Scotland? London?
Scotland is full of great Art, not just the MacIntosh stuff but Artists like Joan Eardly, the Glasgow Colourists, we have a great museum with a beautiful Salvador Dhali of Christ Ascending on the cross over the sea of Galilee. My most profound experience was in The Vatican in front of Michaelangelo’s Pieta; I stood for an hour in front of it with the shivers. It's the most beautiful “Thing” I have ever seen. I think the whole south bank in London, a harsh monolithic concrete complex, could be considered Art. 

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world?
Two charities I wholeheartedly support are Mary's meals and St. Margaret's Hospice Clydebank. The hospice for the care they have given to family and friends and Mary's Meals for the great work they do with School-children in developing countries.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated in Manhattan? Scotland? London?
Under-rated - Scotland, Our innovation and inventiveness. 
London, the warmth of feeling that can be found in what I had always assumed was a heartless hostile city. 
Manhattan, Reilly’s bar.
Over-rated. Scotland, Our temper. We wont attack Englishmen as they get off the train. Manhattan - Reilly’s bar

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite WhomYouKnow
column and what do you like about it?
Made in the USA. I like the idea of buying more things that are made at home. Can I swap you some Whisky?

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I’m out of answers, why not ask me?

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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