A combination of restlessness and unbridled talent is how we would describe Eoin Macken. His hunger for knowledge across the inner-workings of everything (from the human brain to the intricacies of film-making) means he’s constantly on the go.
You’ll have seen Eoin Macken in plenty of fashion campaigns – at the start of his career he was the face of Abercrombie and Fitch and he has modelled for another American juggernaut: Ralph Lauren. He was also a regular on the award-winning BBC and BBC America television series, Merlin, and you can currently catch him on NBC’s The Night Shift. On the large screen, he stars as the lead in The Forest opposite Natalie Dormer and he was part of the all-star cast of Centurion with Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko and Michael Fassbender.
When he’s not acting, Eoin directs, writes and produces. Working with iTunes and Amazon, a selection of his independent works include Leopard, Dreaming For You and The Green Rabbit and The Ice Cream Girl.
We went on a mission to find out how he juggles so many projects and were delighted when Eoin was able to take some time to talk to us ahead of the release of Resident Evil: Final Chapter, where he acts alongside Milla Jovovich.
Hi Eoin, thanks for talking with us. You’re playing opposite Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Final Chapter. You both started your careers as models. Did you ever swap modelling stories whilst filming?
Ha! I don’t think that my modelling was quite on the same level as Milla; she is a cultural icon and a phenomenon. I did photograph her though, I took portraits of everybody on set, and that was a wonderful privilege to be allowed to do that.
You’re part of the last Resident Evil, a story that’s been part of popular culture since 2002. Any pressure?
Of course. Huge. The last film is going to be the biggest and best yet, and Paul and Milla worked very hard to create such a powerful franchise. I had to step up my game because this is a big, big movie. Milla is the greatest female action star, and it was a privilege to share the screen with her.
You filmed Resident Evil: Final Chapter in South Africa. We’ve heard the food is incredible. Any restaurant tips?
Oh man, I’m terrible for those tips, Ali Larter was more of the food expert on set, she has her own food blog and book and knew the places to go in Cape Town. There was a place I remember off Long Street, I think, that did incredible steak that I had dinner at with my dear friends, Haaz Sleiman and Ray Winstone, but I have no idea if I could ever find it again – I followed them!
We watched you on the small screen in Merlin; do you enjoy television or film work more?
I don’t think there’s much of a difference from an acting perspective. On television you have more time to craft a character over a longer period, whilst film is a more intense experience. But just being on a set, being lucky enough to play, is exciting for me.
Walk us through your perfect ensemble for nailing the red carpet.
Burberry have been kind enough to dress me recently and that’s changed my entire perspective, so I’ll do whatever they suggest to be honest because their stuff is wicked. I think a three-piece suit looks pretty classy.
How did you move from model to actor to writer/director/producer? Do you prefer being in front or behind the lens?
I have no idea. I just did things, and over time other things seemed to happen, or projects intertwined. I have always just tried to make films, and my opinion has always been that to understand film and cinema I have to learn as much as possible about as many elements as possible. I created a lot of my own work early on – films that allowed me to explore my acting abilities. I want to be involved in telling stories and I love the art form and the possibilities of film. When I was younger I would write constantly and draw stories, so it’s an evolution of being a child I guess.
When do you find time to write screenplays and what inspires you? Does a degree in psychology aid in the development of your characters?
I write constantly. On set, on the train, sometimes out walking or having drinks with buddies in a bar I get ideas, or a conversation or comment sparks something and so I write it down. I’ve been known to leave a conversation for a few minutes to write down something that occurred in my head triggered by something somebody said or that I saw. I am always thinking about characters and situations and how people would react. I think I always had that interest, which is what drew me to psychology initially.
Any new independent projects in the pipeline?
I have a new book coming out later this year, Hunter and the Grape, which I think is quite beautiful, and I adapted a book that is being produced by Richard Bolger, called Here Are The Young Men, which is a very powerful, gritty Irish coming-of-age film in the veins of Trainspotting or This Is England. We are in development with the Irish Film Board on it and I’m hopeful that we get to make that later this year.
You must be working all the time, but when you’re not, what do you like to do?
Everything that I can. I don’t ever get bored.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter opens in the UK and Ireland on 3rd February 2017
Words by Courtney Blackman
Photographs by Joseph Sinclair