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KIN’ CON Kin star can 'see similarities' between Eric Kinsella and Conor McGregor

Viking Kinsella goes berserk McGregor-style in tonight’s explosive finale of crime show

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Viking bashes his head off his cell door

Viking bashes his head off his cell door

Viking bashes his head off his cell door

Kin actor Sam Keeley admits his fiery character in the hit series, who is also a martial artist, has similarities to UFC star Conor McGregor.

Tonight viewers will see Eric 'Viking' Kinsella ending up bloodied and battered after losing control during a dramatic scene.

Viewers have already seen Eric's fighting behaviour in the gritty RTE series.

And actor Sam (31) says he can see why many fans may think he modelled his character on McGregor.

"I think definitely Conor with his illustrious martial arts career has made a huge impact on Ireland and certainly on the martial arts community," says Sam, who hails from Tullamore, Co Offaly and puts on a Dublin accent for his role.

"I think he definitely has influence, some kind of facets of characters who get involved in stuff like that, particularly in the sport.

"I'd imagine there is an energy there that you could see between the two [his character and McGregor] and go 'oh yeah, well that's similar'.

"But in terms of whether I modelled it on him, I didn't specifically go out and model Viking on him.

"I think there are just some parallels there that are unavoidable when you look at the show, particularly with the bravado and that kind of forward moving energy."

Sam adds: "The look that I had at the time is very similar to some of the looks that Conor has rocked at certain points. Then, of course, I'm playing a character from Dublin and Viking is a martial artist and Conor is famously a martial artist.

"So I guess those parallels are unavoidable in that respect, but in terms of whether or not I modelled a character on him, no."

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Viking winds up in hospital

Viking winds up in hospital

Viking winds up in hospital

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Sam also reveals how he wore a 'modesty pouch' when Eric was seen opening up his front door to two gardai.

"Scenes where you take your clothes off are always awkward and weird, but we had fun with it," he chuckles.

"I did wear a modesty pouch as they call them, which is the most unflattering garment you have ever seen in your life. Sometimes you wonder if it's better or not to be naked.

"No, for the sake of everybody's sanity and lunch we kept the modesty pouch on, but it was grand. The actors were incredible. When you open the door it's like, how do you not laugh at that? They were just so stone faced and so incredible, so yeah that was fun.

"It says everything you need to know about Viking as well, that's how he approached the world, he's just kind of 'balls out' as it were."

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Emmett J. Scanlan as Jimmy in the season finale of Kin

Emmett J. Scanlan as Jimmy in the season finale of Kin

Emmett J. Scanlan as Jimmy in the season finale of Kin

Sam previously played mild- mannered Conor in RTÉ series Raw and says he bulked up for the role of Eric.

"I have always trained, I have always stayed strong, I have always enjoyed being strong. So I'm always tipping away doing something," he says.

"His physicality for Viking was such a big deal, and the way he carries himself and the way he stands and walks.

"I did kind of push it a little bit more before the shoot to put on a little bit of extra weight and just be a little bit more formidable.

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Eamon Cunningham (Ciarán Hinds) is on a brutal mission

Eamon Cunningham (Ciarán Hinds) is on a brutal mission

Eamon Cunningham (Ciarán Hinds) is on a brutal mission

"So yeah, I definitely upped it before the shoot. I had a bit of a three month stretch where I just pushed it a little bit more for sure."

Eric ends up in hospital in tonight's episode after battering his head against a door.

"They wanted me originally just to be punching the door. I just thought there was something interesting particularly about the headbutting of the door," he explains.

"I had asked several weeks beforehand to get a door that had rubber on the front of it so that I could actually lash the door out of it and not be concerned about holding back any aggression, because I think that scene is so symbolic of his frustration of not only the world he is in but also himself and his situation.

"Thankfully stunts and set dressing had made up a door that had foam on the front of it and they just rolled camera and let me absolutely go for it. We had a medic on site and I got tested for a concussion three times that day."

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Eric ‘Viking’ Kinsella in prison

Eric ‘Viking’ Kinsella in prison

Eric ‘Viking’ Kinsella in prison

Sam has just returned from Australia where he filmed a new series based on the Tiger King documentary, in which the Irishman plays Joe Exotic's husband John Finlay.

"He's a very sweet, kind of thoughtful guy who is trying to figure out his crazy life, but definitely a lot sweeter and lot more reserved than Eric for sure," he reveals.

In Kin he regularly gets to use a gun and was horrified at the Alec Baldwin prop gun death recently.

"My blood ran cold when I read that," he says. "It's a heartbreaking tragedy and should never have happened.

"The amount of times I have been handed firearms with blanks in them for various different shows.

"I've played a lot of military roles. I'm very familiar with guns now. Thankfully I have been briefed on the safety quite a lot - it's just a horrendous accident."

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Girlfriend Nikita checks in on Viking after he’s taken for treatment

Girlfriend Nikita checks in on Viking after he’s taken for treatment

Girlfriend Nikita checks in on Viking after he’s taken for treatment

Sam is getting great reaction from the public to his portrayal of Eric.

"People have been amazing, the response to the show has been really overwhelming and people love the character," he says.

" It's been a lot of fun, kind of walking around and people shouting at me in the street.

"I was stopped at a bar the other night and a friend of mine was playing music. Some guy was going 'I know you from somewhere'. I go 'do you?'

"He said 'did I do time with you?' and everybody laughed because they thought he was referring to the show, but it turned out he actually wondered did I actually do time with him.

"Once he figured out that he knew me from the show, he said 'why did you use your own car, ye eejit' and all that. People kind of get the lines blurred for sure, it's hilarious, it's good craic."

The Kin season finale is on RTÉ One tonight at 9.30pm.

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