Photography by Maarten De Boer
“I find everything to do with film making and photography and writing to be fascinating… and I have always wanted to understand as many different aspects of the art forms.”
MM Have you found your transition from modeling to acting, writing, and directing to be an intellectually stimulating one? Did you have any sort of existential experience while in your modeling career?
EM I don’t think it’s a transition as more of a constant exploration. I find everything to do with film making and photography and writing to be fascinating, and I have always wanted to understand as many different aspects of the art forms and to be able to do it myself so I can fully appreciate it and to become better at what I do. It’s all linked to the composition of an image, through photography (modelling), to acting and cinematography to writing and imagery or perceiving the visual to express a story or mood. I made a documentary on the art of a photograph when I was modelling because I found the process at the highest level working with people like Bruce Weber, Peter Lindbergh and Mike Bunn to be enlightening. The compositions in narrative photography are influenced by film making and art and there is a constant cross over of skills.
You have worked on quite a few film projects being behind the camera. Is being a director an ultimate goal for you? Or is this something you’re just enjoying as it comes?
I just love making films and telling stories and being involved in that. I’ve been a gaffer and a dolly grip on short films, been an assistant director on projects, cinematographer for two features and edited others for people. Writing, directing, film making acting are all part of the same process for me, and it’s liberating to be able to learn and attempt to do different things. In an ideal world I’ll be able to act and then write and then direct a film, and I do have a series of
projects I would love to be able to make but I don’t think I need to sacrifice one for the other, hopefully if I work hard I’ll be able to keep doing all of them.
Being on an NBC show is a big deal in the US, how is this resonating back in Ireland?
The show hasn’t aired yet in Ireland but nevertheless the feedback and reception I’ve received about it has been great, so it will be interesting to see how people react to it when it finally airs in April.
Has the sight of blood ever made you faint? Do you think you could handle Night Shift scenarios in real life?
I’ve never been the squeamish sort, and actually the scenarios on this show are quite exciting to me. I have no idea how I would react in real life though, I think you always hope that you would be able to act in a certain way but I guess until you’re in a situation you don’t know what’s going to happen or how you’ll instinctively react.
Do you relate to your character on the show, TC Callahan, having a ‘brash’ style of doing things? In the same vein, do you sympathize with soldiers returning from Afghanistan at all from this role?
I relate to TC in terms of how he doesn’t like to follow rules or be dictated to, does what he believes is best, and the confidence that he has in himself, but then I don’t quite have the skill set in real life that he has so you can only be so brash when you can actually back it up. I’ve learnt a huge amount since doing this show, from meeting Vets and doing extensive research, and America has such a deep relationship with soldiers returning from war situations that it’s a very important topic to understand and address. I’ve had to connect with what TC has gone through from his experiences, but at the end of the day I get to go home, watch a movie, have a whiskey and not think about it anymore. To have to carry the weight of those experiences around every day is a very difficult burden and I have the upmost respect for the men and women who do that and manage to deal with it. It’s a great challenge and an honour for me to be able to represent an American war medic and I just hope that I do a good enough job for people.
How has the San Antonio/New Mexico landscape been to you? Do you find it genuinely romantic? Or kind of dusty and hot?
New Mexico is a beguiling place. I prefer being by the sea as I’ve grown up in Dublin and constantly been on the coast and have used the ocean as a point of reference, but the landscape is so beautiful out here. The light and the cloudscapes are incredible and it’s an inspiring place to write and take photographs. I like being in the bustle of a big city, with the energy that entails but New Mexico had a tranquility that I love very much.
Corned beef & cabbage, whiskey, coddle-to what degree is your affinity for stereotypical Irish delicacies? What is an American food you have become fond of?
The best dairy and meats are from Ireland in my opinion, we make great cheese and bacon. I’m a roast potatoes and steak kinda guy with cereal for breakfast, so as long as I can have that or eggs and bacon I’m happy. But there’s more of a diversity in food out here because the country is awash with so many countries, I’m beginning to love Mexican food and I’m always partial to good Italian!