Interview with Dominique McElligott

Dominique McElligott was born on May 3, 1986 in Dublin, Ireland. She is an actress, known for Moon (2009),  The Guard (2011), The Astronaut Wives Club (2015), House of Cards (2016-2017) and The Last Tycoon (2017).

1.When did you know you wanted to be an actress ?

I was doing school plays and I guess that’s when I really found that I enjoyed it a lot… I had a drama teacher send me for an audition and that’s how I got started professionally at the age of 15 or so.

2.How did you react when you found out you got the role of Kathleen Moore ?

I was thrilled when Billy offered me the role of Kathleen. I was intrigued by the complexity of her character;  that along with the writing and the incredible cast that he had assembled, I was very excited! I immediately started to read the novel and acquaint myself with the history of 1930’s Hollywood, it was so much fun!

3.What was the most exciting scene to film ?

The most exciting scene to film for me was the apex of Kathleen’s arc in the story, where the truth to Monroe is revealed. There was such a build up to it and it’s great to play with all that drama!

4.What traits do you have in common with your character ?

Well I can’t lie to save my life, I’m honest to a fault! Dishonesty seems to be a trait in Kathleen when we meet her, so for that reason, it really is difficult to draw any similarity between Kathleen and myself. But Kathleen is a survivor doing what she can to make it during the economic depression in America, and I’m a bit of a tough cookie, so maybe in that respect, our characters can meet somewhere in the middle!

5.What actors do you look up to ?

I love Juliette Binoche, Daniel Day-Lewis, Toni Collette.
I have an endless list of people who I admire and whose performances have inspired me.

6.What is one quote you live by ?

I’m not gonna be able to pick just one! I’ve a habit of saving different quotes on Pinterest. I’ll even put one as my screen saver, and then will change it when the mood strikes and I need new motivation. But my favorite quotes are by Rumi.

7.What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome when filming The Last Tycoon ?

I don’t know if I had any big challenges while filming or at least none that I can remember! It’s  unusual to shoot a show so close to where I live in LA so that made it extra easy!  I loved every minute of shooting and it was a breeze working with everyone. Amazing group of people.

8.Do you prefer filming movies or series ?

With a film script, I have a beginning a middle and an end all presented to me as a script that I can work from and use to mark my characters trajectory. I like the extra preparation that I can do with film because I have the material upfront. Also, film schedules move at a slower pace which gives plenty of time to hone a scene and get to a place where you and everyone else is happy. But a lot of the great writing is in TV these days, and that takes precedence.

9.Who would you like to work with in the future ?

I really admire the work of Alejandro González Iñárritu , Steve McQueen , Christopher Nolan.

10.What is your favorite movie or TV show ?

I watch a lot of old movies. Some of my favorites are His Girl Friday,An Affair to Remember,It happened one night,Gone with the wind and On the waterfront.

11.Who’s the funniest person on The Last Tycoon in real life?

Whitney Rice! She played Monroe’s secretary, Mary Greer. She’s hilarious!

12.How was it like to be an actor in House of Cards ?

It was an interesting experience to be a part of such a popular show. The subject matter and tone felt very grown-up and you were aware of the caliber of talent surrounding you. Everyone was on their A game, the set is like a well oiled machine, very efficient and ultimately made for an enjoyable experience.

13.What do you have in mind for the future  ?

I just heard that The Last Tycoon is not being renewed  for a second season so I’m exploring my options. I have no idea what’s around the corner but I’m excited. We’ll see!

14.Can you describe your job in one sentence ?

Acting is play, it’s standing on the edge of reality and taking a leap into the unknown, you’re flying, and some magical catharsis takes place which transports and ultimately transforms.

15.How do you prepare for a movie that you’ll be acting in?

Anyway I can! Firstly, the script. I mull over everything and explore, research what I need, anything that inspires me and I feel will be a help. With character, I start with the voice and go from there usually. Any other actors that have been cast, I like to familiarize myself with who they are and how they work, I find that helps me. Costume is another important part of the puzzle, and you hope for a collaborator, some one who listens to your ideas. I have many chats with director and writer(s). If the character is based on a real person, I know I have a responsibility to portray them accurately and with respect.

16.If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing? 

If I weren’t acting, I’d be a film maker, or I’d be working in some health related profession helping people.

17.What is your favorite part that you ever played?

It was a small role in a comedy called The Guard. I had a blast doing it. Would love to do more comedy!

18.Do you have anything to say to your fans ?

I would like to thank everyone for their support over the years. I’ve watched videos made by fans on YouTube which I’ve enjoyed enormously because I don’t watch my work. I very much appreciate the love and I send it right back, times 100!!!!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!
Thank you so much to the amazingly talented Dominique McElligott for agreeing to the interview. She is such a hard-working and wonderful person and it was an absolute pleasure to learn more about her . I can’t wait to see what project she will work on next !

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