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Irish actress Ruth Codd reveals ‘I went from being unemployed and on TikTok to Hollywood’

Disabled star Ruth was plucked from obscurity after horror filmmaker Mike Sullivan was bowled over by her home made TikTok performances

Ruth Codd in Midnight Club© EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX

Eugene MastersonSunday World

Irish actress Ruth Codd maintains that’s while she’s disappointed her Netflix breakthrough show The Midnight Club has just been cancelled after only one season, she’s thrilled she has just finished filming a new series by the same director which she hopes will be a bigger hit.

Disabled star Ruth was plucked from obscurity after cult horror maker Mike Flanagan was bowled over by her home made TikTok performances.

Flanagan, who found fame with the likes of The Haunting of Hill House, wanted a genuine disabled person to play the role of wheelchair user Anya in The Midnight Club and cast Ruth – he was so impressed by her talent that he again chose her to star as another amputee in his new show The House Of Usher.

Ruth (26), who hails from Ferrycarrig, near Wexford town, had been working as a make-up artist and then a barber before the pandemic hit and she was forced to move home, where while unemployed created the comedic TikTok videos which drew Flanagan’s attention.

“I kept telling myself they were going to pull out at the last minute or kept telling myself it wasn’t going to happen, and then it did happen and I thought then once it happened ‘oh they’re going to fire me, they’re going to realise it’s a bad idea, I don’t know what I’m doing’ and it just went really well,” Ruth tells the Sunday World.

“They wanted an amputee to play the role, which was brilliant, because normally in Hollywood they don’t do that. I don’t know why they don’t do that. So, they wanted an actual amputee to play the role of Anya.”

She had never acted properly before and was flown to Vancouver in Canada to film the initial 10-part first series.

Set in a hospice called Brightcliffe , the horror mystery-thriller sage follows eight terminally ill young adults who form ‘The Midnight Club’, meeting up each night to tell each other scary tales – and then when each one dies they try and communicate from the afterlife.

While the series is set in America, Ruth was allowed keep her Irish accent for her role.

“I don’t think they mind me having an Irish accent,” she explains. “They asked ‘can you do an American accent’ and I said ‘no, give me a chance!’

“They just wrote into the script that she immigrated from Ireland, to allow me keep my own accent.

“It’s my own natural accent. But I speak a lot slower when I’m acting so my acting sounds different. I think at the beginning they hadn’t a clue what I was saying, so I had to slow down the way I was talking, but my friends say that I do sound like I’m from Dublin.”

Anya has a right lower leg amputation as a result of bone cancer and uses a wheelchair for mobility. She is a room mate of lead character Ilonka, (Iman Benson), who as a teenager with thyroid cancer enrolls at Brightcliffe Hospice in the hopes of finding an unconventional cure.

“It’s set in the mid-90s,” notes Ruth, who confirms she herself used remember aspects as a youngster from that period such as dial up computer sounds when accessing the likes of Yahoo.

“I remember that (dial up) because we didn’t have Sky or cable. I knew some of the 90s references and stuff. Aya (Natsuki) didn’t know what a Walkman was. We had a Walkman on set one day and she didn’t know what it was, I was like ‘oh my god’!”.

Anya and Ilonka were roommates so Ruth and Iman were close.

“I bonded with all of them,” she maintains. “We are all friends and we all kept in contact, so we were all friends kind of. But I worked the most with Iman definitely.”

A freak accent playing soccer at school led to Ruth’s nightmare medical condition when she injured her right foot.

“I literally just fell playing soccer,” she recalls. “ it wasn’t treated correctly so I was just unlucky

“It was never said ‘oh it’s not going to heal’ so I was just kind of going through the motions and hoping that this would be the operation that works. So after about a year or two I was like ‘I’m probably going to be using these crutches for a long time’. It’s really hard to drag yourself around. I went to a convent school as well, so there was stares everywhere. It was tough.

“I’m so stubborn I wouldn’t let anyone help me. It was just a little bit harder for me. But I still went to school, and went to college. I did as much as I could with what I had type of thing.”

She was getting operations from the age of 15 until 23.

“it was slowly getting worse, and I got fed up of my life revolving around hospital appointments and surgeries and all that,” she recollects. A decision was then made to amputate the lower half of her right leg.

“The year before I got it amputated, I was using the wheelchair a lot. I was in hospital pretty much most of the time, attached to IV antibiotics and I was just worn out, so I didn’t really have the energy to drag myself around,” she remembers. “I used to use the wheelchair a bit, but it was primarily crutches

Six weeks after the amputation she was fitted with a prosthetic and then had to do physiotherapy.

“I was OK after two days, because my leg was so badly damaged, it was in a huge splint anyway. So, I was kind of used not have movement to my ankle.”

The HSE does not give counselling for such a procedure, and Ruth had to do her own research.

“Since I have got my prosthetic, I’ve been really lucky, I haven’t had any trouble with it at all,” she pipes up. “So now I walk around on my prosthetic.

“I’m positive about it now and I wouldn’t go back and change it. But when it first happened, I was not OK with it at all. When you are a teenager you kind of think you are unstoppable and sometimes life could not work out the way you wanted to just because you want it to work that way, so I think I had to grow up very quickly and deal with a lot of things kids shouldn’t have to deal with.”

She now lives in Vancouver with her rescue dog Betty, Her only sibling, a younger brother, lives nearby and works on ski slopes in Whistler. Her father is a farmer, while her mother works in a school.

“Mentally I wouldn’t have gotten through it without my family at all,” she stresses. “My family and my best friend, they were my rock going through it all.”

She hopes to continue in acting.

“We got the news the other day The Midnight Club has been cancelled,” she sighs. “It’s a shame, but we are all of the opinion we were grateful we got something so meaningful for one season

“I’ve now just finished filmed another show with Mike, the House of Usher. It’s about the Edgar Allan Poe books, he wrote a book called the Fall of the House of Usher, And Mike took some other short stories of his and wrote them into the series as well

“I’m not in a wheelchair in this, but I am still an amputee. I love working with Mike. I’d probably work with him for the rest of my days if he’d have me, I love working in horror, because you don’t thing running around screaming and crying is a load of fun, but it actually is. I will take whatever opportunities come my way and roll with it.”

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