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14th Apr 2015

‘It’s Extraordinary’ – Chats To Robert Sheehan And Gren Wells About Their New Film ‘The Road Within’

The pair were in town for the Dublin International Film Festival.

Though the body count on Love/Hate has been piling up over the seasons, no one character has been missed as much by viewers as Darren ‘Dazzler’ Treacy.

Gunned down in his prime by Lizzie at the end of season three, the exit of Robert Sheehan and his blue hoody from the show caused mass grief and while Sheehan has gone on to bigger roles in blockbusters like The Mortal Instruments, he is still associated with his gangland character.

Chatting to at the recent Dublin International Film Festival, the 27-year-old said that he is still accosted in the street by fans of the show but adds that it has been a while since he has seen his former castmates.

“The things about actors is that we’re like cats, we kind of just scatter after we finish working and go here, there and everywhere. I feel like I’m the new JR because a lot of people are like ‘I thought you were dead!’. That’s the main thing, but there’s always a lovely intent behind it,” he said.


While the Portlaoise man’s version of Darren might not be returning to our screens any time soon, it has been reported that a US remake of the RTÉ series could be on the horizon and is set to be filmed in the sunnier climes of Hawaii.

However, when questioned on his views about the series, Sheehan is less than enthusiastic.

“Hawaii has a pretty bad meth problem so I suppose there is the backdrop… it’s hard to know. Sometimes these remakes, when they’re carbon copies of a show… it just, for me, begs the question ‘why remake it at all?’.”

The former Misfits star has just finished filming on Geostorm, a sci-fi thriller starring Gerard Butler and Abbie Cornish, but told that he has his eye on a collaboration with Batman‘s Christopher Nolan, after bumping into the director in an airport recently.

“I have my eye on a lot of directors… you know, bizarrely, I was flying through LAX two or three days ago and I was listening to a podcast and Christopher Nolan starts talking about Interstellar and I turn around and Christopher Nolan is right there!

“I just went ‘agh’ and started giggling uncontrollably. I just couldn’t handle it, it was insane. I was about to slip on a mask going ‘what do you think of this, Chris?’. He’d be fairly high on the list!”


For now, the actor’s focus is firmly on his current release The Road Within, a Gren Wells-directed film that sees a man with Tourette’s (Sheehan) embark on a road trip with his OCD roommate (Dev Patel) and a woman who is suffering from anorexia (Zoe Kravitz).

Sheehan spent six months with people who had been diagnosed with Tourette’s in preparation for the role and Wells tells us that she had an exhaustive search for the right actor before settling on the Irish star.

“I searched high and low, I met every actor in Hollywood and no-one had the qualities that I was looking for until he walked in the door. Then, I told him that I would not make the movie without him. I’d been following him so I knew he was a star but he had the energy, the right look… I wanted someone who was tall and lanky so that the physical tics almost had a poetry to them… and obviously, that face!”

“I want everyone to see it for Robbie’s performance, it’s extraordinary.”


The Kentucky-born director said she was driven to make the film, which is based on German release Vincent Wants To Sea, as “in America, unfortunately, people don’t necessarily like to read movies”, in addition to an urge to deepen the peripheral characters played by Patel and Kravitz.

“I saw the film a few times originally, although I optioned it off the trailer because I knew if they could pack that much heart and humour into two minutes then the movie had to be amazing and luckily, I was right because it won the German Oscar for best film and best actor. But I stopped referring to it at a certain point because I knew I had to make it my own.”

Taking on a script that examines such conditions in both a humourous and gritty light is no easy task and Wells revealed she was acutely aware of the danger of handling the subject matter in an inappropriate manner.

“The deepest thing was the characters and just truly making them so that our hearts went out to them… that they weren’t just a joke. We did the research, six months with Robbie working with Tourette’s sufferers, three months with Dev and people who were living with OCD and three months with Zoe. I suffered from anorexia and bulimia growing up so she had me as a resource but we also met with several women who were in the throes of it and that was… that one in particular, because people are dying of that.”

Given her own experiences, Wells admits that there was a personal investment in portraying the realities of anorexia and highlights that there is a lack of “realistic” commentary about the condition on screen.

“I wanted to show the reality that not everyone gets better and that there are setbacks and that you take one step forward and three steps back. I think it was important. I didn’t define her back story on purpose because I wanted to say that it could be any of us, it could be your friend, your sister, your daughter or your mother, or your brother, it doesn’t discriminate against sexes. It’s a very powerful disorder and when it takes hold, it is really hard to get the grasp off.”

For more information on eating disorders, check out the Bodywhys website here.