He’s already modelled for major shopping brand ASOS and been eyed up by major international brand American Eagle, but with two major movie projects under his belt, Derry man Caolan McClafferty is now set to make waves in the film industry too.
Caolan, a former Lumen Christi pupil, moved to London just over a year and a half ago after studying in IT. With a dream of conquering the acting world, the 23-year-old says he’s still in shock at how many opportunities have knocked on his door over the course of a relatively short period of time in the English capital.
Taking a few minutes off from one his major projects this week to speak to the Journal, Caolan said life has been “amazing” since he based himself in London after a period of travelling.
“There has just been an absolute abundance of things, I still can’t quite believe it’s all happened so fast,” he said. With his feet still firmly on the ground, the affable Derry man was happy to recount the lighthearted moment when he got his big break.
“That would have been when I appeared on the Alan Titchmarsh show modelling in a pair of speedos!” he laughed.
While it was a daring introduction to the world of celebrity, the job did Caolan no harm at all and a fellow model introduced him to one of the director Trevor Hayward who he has recently filmed the supernatural thriller ‘Witch’ with.
“I play a villain and I’m so excited about the film. It’s due for release in early 2015 and I’ve loved every minute of being involved in it. This is definitely the direction I want to go in.”
It’s an area Caolan is having no trouble getting work in. Having yet to experience the ominous “out of work” phase of being an actor, the local man explained how his schedule is full for some time to come.
“I’m looking at other types of roles too and I’m doing a pilot show which it’s looking like may be aired on TV. The programme is about a cop with a split personality, so that’s something which is pretty exciting to be involved in too.”
While he’s now gradually establishing him as a regular on the modelling and acting circuit in London, Caolan said he has fond memories of his time in Derry where he first took to the stage in the Playhouse.
“I had done a ‘Media Techniques’ course in the Nerve Centre and I was working behind the camera. I was helping other students and I just remember knowing, when watching them acting, that that was what I wanted to do. That’s the way I’ve always been, I think I’m always in character in some ways. I knew as soon as I stood on stage at the Playhouse that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
“I’m a method actor - I’ve always been a method actor. When I get roles, whether that’s on stage or in film I have to immerse myself and have an emotional attachment to the character. I think if you can’t do that, you can’t really perform fully in a role to the maximum.”
When’s he not acting, Caolan has more than enough to keep him occupied in the world of modelling.
“Recently I’ve worked for ASOS which was a pretty big deal and I have two major worldwide projects coming up. I’m going to be the face of a campaign called the Lovedesh army. The ‘desh’ refers to Bangladesh and we’re using the hashtag ‘LTTTW’ which stands for ‘let’s travel the third world.’ It’s basically a drive to get people visiting third world countries where it’s safe to travel. The idea is that by people visiting these countries and spending money there and encouraging others to do the same we can contribute something positive to the local economies there. I’m going to be travelling with a camera crew to help spread the word and the concept has been featured in the Guardian and the Mail on Sunday. I’m so proud to be the face of the organisation and the campaign because it’s something really worthy.”
As part of his networking around the campaign, Caolan has enjoyed dinner with acclaimed English actor and writer Nigel Planer, star of the hit tv series ‘The Young Ones.’
“There we were enjoying a traditional Bangladesh curry. It was surreal but so enjoyable,” said Caolan.
Another campaign Caolan is set to be involved in is with international fitness brand E&M active.
“That’s something I’m delighted to be involved with too because I really believe in their products - and I’m not just saying that because I’m on board as one of the faces of E&M! I’ll be helping to endorse some really amazing and unique fitness products which again will help get my face and my name out there and hopefully in the process lead to more work.”
Caolan’s confident that his stream of work will continue and is determined to give everything he’s involved in 100 per cent commitment.
“I have a ten year plan and that’s something I’ll be keeping focused on in the coming months. I think you just have to keep your goals and aims in sight and I think I’m in exactly the right place to do that.”
While work commitments have meant that Caolan doesn’t get back to Derry as often as he might otherwise have, he said he’s delighted to see his home town looking better than ever and with a thriving arts and cultural scene.
“It’s like my home city is rising alongside me,” he smiled.