From his attention-grabbing turn in Peaky Blinders, the stage and screen actor delivers a breakout performance in Sophie Hyde’s impactful comedy-drama.
McCormack stars as the titular sex worker who sets Thompson’s retired school teacher on the path of self-discovery and sexual awakening.
Essentially a two-hander, Good Luck to You… is the perfect showcase for the Irish actor’s talents, managing to shine alongside two-time Oscar winner’s Thompson bravado performance. TBB sits down with McCormack to talk about inspiration, big breaks and what’s next.
Please introduce yourself…
I am Daryl McCormack I am an actor and I’m from Ireland
Please share a word or sentence which best describes your life right now.
Exciting, slightly surreal and joyful!
With Vikings, The Wheel of Time, Peaky Blinders, and now the titular role in Leo Grande you seem to have the knack for picking the right vehicles to advance your career. How do you go about choosing a role?
Following my instincts on scripts, characters that I feel have something to say and something that will demand something of me is more or less my main go-to when choosing a role.
What was the catalyst that made a young Daryl, growing up in Nenagh, Tipperary to become an actor? Were you inspired by somebody in your personal life or was it the performance you saw on stage or film?
It was a mix of both I had a tradition with my mum to go to the cinema every weekend and we would watch movies and that was true escapism for the both of us and it kept my dream alive for a long time. Then there was a particular play I saw in Manchester at the Royal Exchange called ‘Raisin In The Sun’ where I really just felt the impact of storytelling and what it could do to kind of release people and that was a significant moment when I really felt that I wanting to pursue acting potentially for life. I was 17.
Were you at all nervous about acting with the multi-Emmy, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Oscar award-winning actress Emma Thompson in what is essentially a two-hander film?
I was nervous, there were moments of self-doubt as comes with a lot of work that asks or demands more of you, but particularly it being a two-hander film, and the nature of which we were very exposed, I felt nervous but I also felt so anchored into who I was portraying and the story we were telling that I was able to put that before any nerves and was able to throw myself into playing Leo.
Coming out of the screening of Leo Grande, I heard comparisons to this being the break-out role for you in the way that Pretty Woman did for Julia Roberts and Bridgerton for Regé-Jean Page. After Leo’s premiere at Sundance and subsequent screenings, have you seen a difference in the parts and projects that are now being offered to you?
Yes. I definitely feel that there is more room for me to choose the work that I want to do which is really exciting, there are people that I have admired for a very long time who are interested in working with me which is surreal and it definitely feels like I can have a sense of cultivating my choices more and picking the writing and projects I want to put myself into.
What’s next for you? Do you want to continue focusing on film or perhaps go back to the stage (McCormack made his West End debut in The Lieutenant of Inishmore)?
What’s next for me is The Tudor which is a film that I start shooting in Humburg next week. I wish to continue in film because it’s really where my dreams began. I do also see myself returning to the stage at some point because that’s also a huge passion but for now, I really look forward to working on more films.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU…
- A favourite book you have to have in your collection? East of Eden by John Steinbeck – I guess it’s because I’m not a massive reader and that book is quite a big book and its an amazing story and I was very proud that I even finished it…A song / album that defines the soundtrack of your life to date?
- A song/album that defines the soundtrack of your life to date? So Long See You Tomorrow by Bombay Bicycle Club
- The first stage production you saw and what it meant to you? Hamlet when I was at school by the Druid Theatre Company it was a lot of fun and it inspired me.
- What’s made you sad, mad, and glad this week? Sad, I am going away from London for a month and a bit, I often miss my friends and my life when I’m away working because I’m always working, I’m also glad that I’m going away as I’m always grateful that I am working. Mad- nothing I’ve been really happy.
Good Luck to You Leo Grande is released in cinemas on Friday 17th June.