We had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Francis. Check out the interview below.
Thank you for granting the interview, Francis! What an impressive portfolio you have. 2017 has been a busy year. You starred in several films and a TV series. Let’s talk “Super High” You played Adrian. Tell us more.
“SuperHigh” is a 10 part superhero series starring Kev Adams, DeStorm Power, Sarah McDaniel and I. Directed by Edouard Pluviuex. The big budget allowed for some incredible special effects and we were lucky to have the Oscar-nominated cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman as our cinematographer. I played a villain with a team of goons. It was a pleasure to work with such talented people. If the series goes for another season I’d love to expand on the character.
In 2005, Francis served with the United Nations on the UNMIL peace-enforcing mission in Liberia and on his return began an Irish Army cadetship as part of the 82nd Cadet class and received a presidential commission in 2007 winning the Tactical Word for Leadership. You hold the rank of Lieutenant. Has this helped you in your portrayal of military characters?
Being able to draw on my experiences in the Irish army has been immensely helpful in showbiz for me. I have just co-written and will star in a 10 part network series that will shoot in Europe next year. I’ll be playing a soldier. Understanding the environments in which soldiers are required to serve and the mental and physical conditioning they are required to undergo adds to my ability to attack the character with confidence. For most characters, I have to read and study a lot about the profession and environment in which they live before I get down to imagining their personal history and belief systems. Now, since I’ve lived the profession and been involved in the writing I can explore and have fun with the nuances earlier on in the process. Having an involvement in the writing process is a dream for an actor as you can shape the words to what you believe would be the character’s truth. I’ve been wandering around my house in my old uniform that I had shipped over from Ireland trying to unearth entry points that will help me deepen the character; all very fun and all slightly insane.
You have worn many hats in the film industry, such as producer, editor, director, and cinematographer. Have your experiences shaped your acting?
Having some understanding of what the team around you is doing and how you fit into the mechanism of the filmmaking process is very sobering for an actor. Having edited, moved lights, held the boom for sound and ran and got coffee for the crew I have a clear understanding of how lucky I am to be now in front of the camera. Now that I have written on a few series I understand that there is a time to hit the script word for word and a time to play and improvise. The biggest reward from having touched on most aspects of the production is just being calm and relaxed on set. A relaxed actor delivers his best work.
You’re also a stand-up comedian and have since performed all across North America; performing at times to audiences of over 4000 people. What is it about comedy that you love? What inspires you?
I’m currently on tour with Ray William Johnson and Kaja Martin across America. We’re hitting a new state every 10 days, and doing 3 to 5 shows at each stop. It’s been incredible meeting so many people. We fly back to LA in the time between gigs to work on our individual projects, so it’s been busy. The highlight of the shows for me is the meet and greets with fans after the performance. I get to look into the eyes of the individual audience members and connect personally. Every now and then I get to open for a friend to a ridiculously large audience which although super fun, doesn’t leave you with that same sense of human connection on which my soul thrives. For me, stand-up comedy is quite simply an opportunity bring joy to people and take a serious topic and get people to laugh at it. It’s like group therapy and I am the audience’s lunatic therapist. I’m inspired by being the best comedian I can be. By a desire to kill harder; I want to leave the audience incapacitated by laughter on the floor and begging for mercy.
Let’s talk the film industry. We know it is a challenge to maintain a non-industry life. What do you love to do when you’re not filming?
I run a lot and hike in nature. Most of my friends in LA are in the industry, but when I go home, showbiz is the last thing on everybody’s mind. I find breaking patterns important. I spend a lot of time writing and in comedy clubs or on set and whenever I get an opportunity to head for the hills and be in nature, I seize it.
You also diversified your portfolio. In 2008, you opened an Irish bar ‘The Temple Bar’ in Guadalajara, Mexico. Recently, there was an earthquake in Mexico. Is the bar OK?
My friend David Walsh and I opened some restaurants in Guadalajara. We sold them 3 years ago. We wanted to focus on other things. I used the cash for the sale to fund my transition to LA. David and his family are now living at home in Dublin. Thankfully all the people and properties are still alive and kicking. I believe the earthquake hit Mexico City badly. I checked in with my friends there and thankfully they are all OK.
What’s next for you?
In the world of standup, I’d like to do a Netflix special. I did 10 minutes for Laugh’s on Fox and I learned a lot from that experience. I’m working on crafting an hour that I can take to market. In the world of acting, I’m working with my writing partner Stuart King and some very clever people on a dramatic TV series. There is also a movie and that series in France in the mix. My main goal is to use these projects to grow my skill set and move towards ownership and control so that I can make what I want to make and help the people who I love succeed.
Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked?
I’m flying home for Christmas to see my wonderful family. That is exciting after 2 years of working like a workaholic in the US.