With his smash hit UK TV series Moone Boy now available in the US via Hulu, Bridesmaids’ Chris O’Dowd cements his place as the hardest-working man in show biz. I spoke to Chris about his roughly 4,000 ongoing TV and film projects (including Girls and Thor 2), and subjected him to the same 10 questions Maxim always asks everyone.
Moone Boy is semi-autobiographical, and you play the imaginary friend of a young boy growing up in a big Irish family. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
I didn’t, unfortunately, and I wrote this show just to have that opportunity. I grew up in a house where there were seven of us and we just really didn’t have room for an imaginary friend in our little bungalow.
Do you come from a dysfunctional family?
Not at all, I think it’s the most functional family. I think it’s a family of misfits that work together perfectly, like a scrambled egg sandwich.
How does a kid from Boyle, Ireland, end up in show biz? What were some of your comedy influences?
God, that’s a good question, I don’t really know. I came to comedy much later. I went to drama school and was like a Shakespearean actor for a couple years. But in terms of like the small town…we had one celebrity when I was growing up. Very old, a woman called Maureen O’Sullivan and she was the first Jane in Tarzan. And I remember when I was around 7 or 8, she came back from living in Hollywood all of her life, and she was in her 70s, and they threw her a parade. And as a 7-year-old I must’ve thought, “Wow, she must’ve done something special to get a parade. I want a parade. What do I have to do to get a parade?” And my life’s been basically a journey to get a parade.
You have been quoted as saying that you think women are not offered enough good roles or good opportunities as writers in the comedy world. Do you think that has begun to shift a bit since Bridesmaids? Is that part of what drew you to that movie?
Definitely. To be honest, throughout my career, it’s just been my experience that I seem to work with a lot of female directors, definitely a lot more than the normal percentage of female directors that are out there, and I always enjoy it, because I think the characters are awesome and written better. But I do think things are shifting, it certainly seems that way, and I certainly hope so, with the likes of Kristin [Wiig] and Annie Mumolo, Lena Dunham, and [Friends with Kids director/star] Jennie Westfeldt, all of whom I worked with in the last 18 months. There’s so many amazing women out there, as soon as we get a shift in what male-to-female producers and executives are out there, I think it will come along even quicker.