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Bright talent Leading US magazine names the six Irish actors who have 'conquered the world'


Ruth Negga

Ruth Negga

Ruth Negga

Six Irish actors have “conquered the world”, according to America’s leading performing arts magazine.

Jessie Buckley, Paul Mescal, Chris Walley, Ruth Negga, Sarah Greene and Dónall Ó Héalai are the new acting royalty according to Backstage.

The prestigious publication, written for people in the industry, claims the young actors are the next generation of Irish superstars.

“What do Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, and Saoirse Ronan have in common?” the magazine asks.

“They are all Hollywood royalty and they all hail from Ireland. Time and time again we watch Irish talent dazzle in a variety of diverse roles on our screens in Britain, America, and around the world.

“So, who are the next generation of Irish superstars currently making big waves in the industry and what is the secret to their success?

“Could it be the famous ‘luck of the Irish’ or is there something else which links these rising stars from the Emerald Isle together?”

It says Jessie Buckley “is utterly unstoppable” and a “master of accents, skills, and instruments.”

The 30-year-old Killarney star was nominated for a Best Actress BAFTA for her tear-jerking performance in Wild Rose and sang 17 songs for the film’s soundtrack.

“And she keeps on ascending, as we saw in I’m Thinking of Ending Things, a physiological televised thriller which was released during the height of the national lockdown, leaving audiences in a frenzy.

“It is no wonder the British Film Institute announced: ‘Jessie Buckley was born to be a star.’”


Jessie Buckley

Jessie Buckley

Jessie Buckley

Backstage said Normal People was “a stunning showcase for fresh, upcoming Irish talent, most notably the co-lead Paul Mescal.”

It said: “His is captivating work in Normal People, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald, was the ultimate game-changer.

“Mescal’s chemistry with on-screen lover Daisy Edgar-Jones captured hearts and imaginations across the globe.

“His stellar performance even earned him an Emmy Award nomination. Now 24 and with the world at his feet, he has just finished shooting Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter, due for release in 2021, which is sure to be a big year for Mescal.”


Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal

Young Offenders star Chris Walley, 25, saw his film become the fastest Irish film to break the €1 million mark at the Irish box office and earn him multiple accolades for his depiction of the juvenile delinquent Jock O’Keeffe.

Turned into a BBC TV series, Cork man Walley subsequently won a place on the BAFTA Breakthrough Brit programme, a scheme which showcases the next generation of exciting new talent in the UK and beyond.

He also won a Laurence Olivier Award at just 24 for his role as Davey in Martin McDonagh’s play The Lieutenant of Inishmore in London in 2018.

Since Ruth Negga, 38, shot to fame in Love/Hate and then Misfits “her platform has expanded rapidly,” said Backstage.

“She is currently ranked as one of Ireland’s top ten greatest actors of all time by The Irish Times, which credited her breakthrough role as her ‘stirring’ performance in the Hollywood feature Loving.”

Negga’s portrayal of Mildred, a black woman married to a white man in racist-era Virginia, was “deeply moving, human, and memorable.”

She was nominated for a BAFTA and an Oscar and “is now undeniably a global phenomenon.”

Backstage said Sarah Greene’s rise to fame could be attributed to her portrayal of the hot-headed Helen McCormick in Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan.

“The show was a huge success in the West End and on Broadway, and her terrific, fiery performance earned her a nomination for a Tony and an Olivier award,” it said.

“The triumph of the run led to a meteoric on-screen rise for the Cork actor.”

The 36-year-old Cork star appeared in numerous TV shows and won an IFTA for her role in Noble.

“Most recently we saw her as Paul Mescal’s on-screen mother in Normal People but she can also be spotted as the double-dealing May in RTE’s Rebellion, or as Hecate Poole in the star-studded British-American horror drama Penny Dreadful, or as Detective Cassie Maddox, the joint lead in the new crime series Dublin Murders.

“Next, she stars in the upcoming Irish comedy Frank of Ireland alongside brothers Brian and Domhnall Gleeson.”

Dónall Ó Héalai, 33, has created waves in the Irish-language film, Arracht, about a fisherman from rural Connemara on the run for a crime he did not commit in the wake of the Great Famine.

“Ó Héalai’s lead performance is full of anguish, depth, and strength as we follow his plummet from doting father and dedicated husband to troubled, starving destitute.”

The Galway actor went on to be named one of Screen Daily’s Stars of Tomorrow.

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Online Editors